A few people have been in touch since I shared this site asking what I am doing and who I am meeting in Sydney. I’m still seeking bereaved family members to connect with (more info here) and have some time set aside for those meetings, and any other opportunities currently unplanned that might crop up.
You don’t get a trip to the other side of the world on the off-chance you can meet people though, which is why I’m so grateful to those who have helped me already. I have been completely overwhelmed with the generosity of people who I’ve contacted about my trip and consequently have a rather packed schedule already.
I am visiting Sydney twice, once at the start of my trip, and once at the end. I’m still firming up some visits but I know that I’ll definitely be meeting the following people in Week One:
Steve Kinmond, Deputy Ombudsman and Kathryn McKenzie, Disability Director, New South Wales Ombudsman
David Evenden and William De Mars, Solicitor Advocates, Coronial Inquest Unit NSW
A/Prof Leanne Dowse, Chair in Intellectual Disability Behaviour Support, UNSW
Prof Julian Trollor, Chair of Intellectual Disability Mental Health, UNSW
Ngila Bevan and Matthew Bowden, People with Disability Australia (tbc)
I’ve been invited to spend the morning and a working lunch at the New South Wales Ombudsman’s office (anyone who knows me is well aware that I’ll do anything for a free lunch). This means I will be able to speak with the Deputy Ombudsman and the Disability Director who are responsible for reviewing and monitoring deaths of disabled people living in residential care and I will also get to meet the Ombudsman staff involved in the disability reportable incidents scheme (mandatory reporting by disability services of serious incidents involving people with disability living in supported group accommodation).
I could not have asked for more support from the University of New South Wales and especially Professors Leanne Dowse and Julian Trollor. They have both offered me a desk space while I am in Sydney, introduced me to key contacts working or campaigning about deaths of people with an intellectual disability, and offered me the opportunity to share my work and the JusticeforLB campaign with a wider audience.
I will be giving a public lecture at UNSW Investigating the deaths of intellectually disabled people: reflections from the #JusticeforLB campaign on Wednesday 15 November at 4pm on the Kensington Campus. Anyone reading this is very welcome to attend.
Realistically I’m unlikely to be able to blog about every meeting or conversation I have, but I will try to do updates regularly. I’ll blog again soon with my plans for other areas. For now please keep sharing this site and the facebook page, in case bereaved families or other interested people come across it and wish to get in touch. Thank you.