Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
What is the Disability Royal Commission?
The Disability Royal Commission is an inquiry into the violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. The Royal Commission is run by Commissioners who are former judges, disability experts and people with lived experience. The Commissioners are responsible for conducting the inquiry and writing the report.
The inquiry is guided by the Terms of Reference. These are a set of guidelines which tell the Commissioners what they need to look into. You can read the Terms of Reference here.
At the end of the Royal Commission, a report will be given to the Government discussing the experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability and how our society can be more inclusive in the future.
What is violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation?
It can be difficult to know what these key terms mean and whether they apply to you. The Disability Royal Commission have provided definitions on the key terms but if you are not sure that these properly described your situation, contact the Royal Commission to have a chat.
Here are the official definitions:
Violence and abuse
Violence and abuse cover a range of behaviours towards people with a disability. These could include assault, sexual assault, constraints, restrictive practices (physical and chemical), forced treatments, forced interventions, humiliation and harassment, financial and economic abuse and significant violations of privacy and dignity on a systemic or individual basis.
Neglect includes physical or emotional neglect, passive neglect or wilful deprivation. Neglect can be a single significant incident or a systemic issue that involves depriving a person with disability of the basic necessities of life such as food, drink, shelter, access, mobility, clothing, education, medical care and treatment.
Exploitation is when a person takes advantage of someone else. This could include improper use of another person or the improper use of or withholding of another person’s assets, labour, employment or resources including taking physical, sexual, financial or economic advantage.
What's the first step?
Making a submission
If you would like to share your experience with the Disability Royal Commission, the first step is to make a submission.
Making a submission is an opportunity to tell your story, in your own words. This can be done in many different ways.
There is further information on how to make a submission here.
For other ways to participate in the Disability Royal Commission, for example at Community Forums or to have a private session please visit the Disability Royal Commission website.
Where to find help with submissions
For help with drafting a submission, you can reach out to your local advocacy organisation. Use the Disability Advocacy Finder to find your local service.
If you need legal advice on your submission, free legal help is available from Your Story Disability Legal Support. Examples of when you may need include if you are naming an organisation or you have signed a confidentiality agreement about the incident you want to make a submission about.
The Royal Commission said I am a "witness". What does this mean?
The idea of being a witness can be a bit intimidating and sounds very legal! However, there is great information available to people with disabilities and their families on being a witness here. Importantly, if a person has experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation and does not want to give evidence the Disability Royal Commission will not usually make them do so.
How can Equality Lawyers help me?
We can help you if you are:
being called, or granted leave to appear, as a witness at a hearing of the Disability Royal Commission
being requested to attend, or attending an interview of the Disability Royal Commission
complying with a notice to give information or a statement in writing that will be used as evidence in the Disability Royal Commission, and/or
complying with a notice to produce issued by the Royal Commission.
Your legal fees for these services can be funded by the Australian Government. If you need these services, contact us and we will assist you to access that funding.
Contact us today to learn more.