18 Dec 2023

Intellectually disabled people neglected & forgotten: report

From Nine To Noon, 9:07 am on 18 December 2023
Intellectually disabled people

Photo: IHC

A new report paints a grim picture of almost every aspect of the lives of intellectually disabled people, finding they die up to 20 years earlier than the rest of the population, and experience more deprivation, unemployment and crime.

The advocacy organisation for intellectually disabled New Zealanders, IHC, commissioned the report, frustrated that the last official look at their health status was in 2011.

That's despite a call 20 years ago from a national advisory committee for an end to neglect, saying many adults with an intellectual disability have "treatable health conditions, yet receive inadequate medical management." 

The new report uses data from the Stats NZ's large research database which holds de-identified microdata about people and households.

It finds intellectually disabled people overwhelmingly live in more deprived areas, have poor health outcomes, achieve fewer qualifications, experience more poverty, violence and crime, have low internet access and have extremely low levels of employment.

IHC says at a minimum, funded annual health checks for people with IDs should be introduced immediately.

Kathryn speaks with IHC Advocate Shara Turner.