Disability training for Wollongong licensed venue security staff

Mick Robson

Mick Robson

Security staff from across Wollongong will undergo training to better recognise the difference between someone with a disability and someone who is intoxicated.

The training, announced on Tuesday by The Disability Trust, follows the Illawarra Mercury's report on cerebral palsy sufferer Mick Robson, who was pulled aside by a security guard at the Hotel Illawarra on the suspicion of being drunk.

At the time, Mr Robson said he felt "worthless" and as though he was being "treated differently" as a result of his appearance.

Following Tuesday's announcement, Mr Robson said he thought training for security staff would provide a more positive late night environment for people with a disability.

"Hopefully it will minimise or completely eliminate the incidents involving bouncers when I go out," he said.

"I hope it gives other people with disabilities confidence and makes them feel comfortable to go out and have a good night.

"There are so many stories of people with similar experiences."

Mr Robson's plight struck a chord with Mercury readers, with many commenting on the online article.

Commenter Jon said bouncers were often forced to deal with difficult situations.

"Before you rush out and criticise bouncers, realise what they are up against and that it's a high stress job and they're proactive in their job in order to minimise the idiots killing someone," he wrote.

So far, security staff from Wollongong Nightlife venues have come on board for the training.

The Disability Trust information and advocacy services manager Sean O'Neill said cases similar to Mr Robson's happened "all too often".

"It's reasonable for staff ... to want to enforce their responsibility under Responsible Service of Alcohol ... [but] there's a bit of confusion sometimes and that catches up people with a disability," he said.

"A good solution would be a lot more education for staff ... to understand how people with a disability move around."

On August 8, the Grand Hotel will host club night Ables - a venture supported by Illawarra disability workers, aimed at giving people with a disability the confidence to go out on the town.

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