Disability Royal Commission Updates

The Government has appointed seven senior people as Commissioners to the Royal Commission. One of the seven Commissioners, who is appointed as the Chair of the Royal Commission is a judge.

The Commissioners are required to provide an interim report no later than 30 October 2020, and a final report by no later than 29 April 2022. This long time frame will ensure that as many voices as possible are heard and the issues raised are addressed in the final outcomes.

We will keep you updated with information as it is made available from the Commission website at disability.royalcommission.gov.au.

The Commission also has a newsletter Connect, to provide updates and news on the Commission's work. Click here to read previous editions and to subscribe.

Updates

August 2020

Royal Commission releases Second Progress Report

11 August 2020

Disability Royal Commission media release
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has released a Second Progress Report, summarising the work carried out between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020.

Visit the Royal Commission's website to read the report.


July 2020

Royal Commission releases hearing schedule

28 July 2020

Disability Royal Commission media release
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has released a schedule of public hearings for the rest of the year.

Three public hearings will be held in Brisbane:

  • Week of 12 October 2020: Public hearing, Brisbane
    Barriers experienced by students with disability in accessing and obtaining a safe, quality and inclusive school education and consequent life course impacts
  • Week of 16 November 2020: Public hearing, Brisbane
    Long term, including indefinite, detention and interactions with the criminal justice system experienced by people with disability
  • Week of 23 November 2020: Public hearing, Brisbane
    The experiences of First Nations people with disability and their families in contact with child protection systems

Click here to visit the Commission's website to read more.

Sharing your story with the Disability Royal Commission

27 July 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has thanked the many Australians who have already shared their stories and experiences.

Click here to visit the Commission's website to read more.


June 2020

Public hearing to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on people with disability

18 June 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has announced a public hearing to examine the experiences of people with disability during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC said subject to any significant changes in circumstances, the hearing will take place in Sydney during the week commencing 17 August, 2020.

Click here to visit the Commission's website to read more about the upcoming hearing.

First Nations People with Disability issues paper

9 June 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The latest issues paper released by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability seeks information about the experiences of First Nations people with disability.

To read more about the issues paper, and how you can respond: click here to visit the Commission's website. 


May 2020

Restrictive Practices Issues Paper

26 May 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is seeking information about the use of restrictive practices on people with disability.

To read more about the release of the issues paper, and how you can respond, click here to visit the Commission's website.

Royal Commission looks at employment of people with disability

12 May 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The latest issues paper published by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability looks at the experiences of people with disability in employment.

In 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, found just over half, 53.4 per cent of people with disability were in the labour force, compared with 84.1 per cent of people without disability.

To read more about the release of the issues paper, and how you can respond, click here to visit the Commission's website.


April 2020

Commission releases new Issues Paper on rights and attitudes

28 April 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has published its latest issues paper.

The Rights and attitudes issues paper is designed to assist the Royal Commission in its investigation about people’s awareness and understanding of the rights of people with disability.

It also seeks feedback about community attitudes towards people with disability and about how well advocacy is working for people with disability, to prevent or help respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

To read more about the release of the issues paper, and how you can respond, click here to visit the Commission's website.

Emergency Planning and Response Issues Paper

15 April 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is seeking information about the experiences of people with disability during recent emergencies in Australia.

The Emergency Planning and Response Issues Paper published on 15 April 2020 seeks feedback about what can be done to improve the safety and wellbeing of people with disability during similar emergencies in the future.

To read more about the release of the issues paper, and how you can respond, click here to visit the Commission's website.


March 2020

Disability Royal Commission calls for urgent action

26 March 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is calling on all Australian governments to ensure that responses to COVID-19 include dedicated strategies and take all necessary measures to protect and support people with disability. 

The Royal Commission has issued a Statement of Concern about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disability.

Click here to read more and to read the Statement of Concern.

Royal Commission suspends all public events

16 March 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has suspended public hearings, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

Click here to visit the Commission's website to read more.

Royal Commission hearing to continue investigating education

10 March 2020
Disability Royal Commission media release

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will continue its investigation into education at a public hearing in Brisbane.

The hearing will take place in a specially designed and purpose built hearing room from Tuesday 24 March – Friday 27 March.

Click here to read the Commission's website to read more.


January 2020

Welcome to the first Disability Royal Commission update for 2020

To begin the year, the Commission released its First Progress Report to explain the work that was done in 2019, and what work will take place in 2020. You can access an Easy Read Report Summary on the website

The Commission has also released the calendar of planned events for 2020, which can also be found on the website.

If you wish to make a submission or take a part in the Royal Commission, an easy read version of the Draft Accessibility Strategy has been published by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. Click here to download.
 

First hearing to take place in February 2020

The first public hearing for 2020 will take place on Monday 17 February at Novotel Sydney Olympic Park Hotel, Western Sydney.

The topic of the hearing will be Health, more specifically the provision of health care or service for people with cognitive disability, including people with intellectual disability, autism and acquired brain injuries.

In particular, the hearing will focus on:

  1. barriers faced by people with cognitive disability when accessing and receiving health care and services, including barriers to communication and health professionals’ attitudes, values and assumptions
  2. training and education of health professionals with respect to patients with cognitive disability
  3. delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses of people with cognitive disability
  4. life expectancy of people with cognitive disability (particularly people with intellectual disability and people with autism)
  5. specific issues for First Nations people with cognitive disability with respect to health care and services.

Information about how to apply for Leave to Appear at a Hearing of the Royal Commission can be found on the website. If you are unable or do not wish to apply in writing, or if you need assistance with your application to appear, please phone 1800 517 199.

The hearing will be held at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, and will be livestreamed on the Royal Commission website.
 

Two new issues papers open for comment

Responses are currently being sought from the community on two different issues papers. The papers cover;

  1. Health care for people with cognitive disabilities
    The Royal Commission wants to understand the experiences of people with cognitive disability in accessing or receiving health care.

    Health is a key issue for the Royal Commission because people with disability may experience violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in health settings. The denial of the right to health care may also be a form of neglect.

    This issues paper outlines the Commission’s preliminary understanding of the key issues experienced by people with cognitive disability when accessing health care. The paper includes 10 questions to help people and organisations to provide responses.
     
  2. Group homes
    The Royal Commission is interested in the experiences of people with disability who have lived, or who are living in group homes. Living arrangements are a key issue for the Royal Commission to explore because it is known that people with disability may experience violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in their homes. This paper will focus specifically on group homes. Other forms of accommodation will be addressed in future papers.

    This issues paper outlines the Commission’s preliminary understanding of the key issues experienced by people with disability living in group homes. The paper includes 10 questions to help people and organisations to provide responses.

The Royal Commission is encouraging responses from individuals and organisations to both of the above papers. You can submit your response via email, phone, post, audio recording or video recording. Contact information is available on the website.
 

Upcoming Community Forums

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is inviting people with disability and their families to community forums in the Queensland cities of Ipswich and Logan on 4-5 February, 2020.

Event information and links to register for the forums are below:

Logan

Date: Tuesday, 4 February 2020
Times: 10:00am – 12:00noon
Venue:  Logan Entertainment Centre, 170 Wembley Road Logan Central
Register for the Logan community forum

Ipswich

Date: Wednesday, 5 February 2020
Times: 11:00am – 1:00pm
Venue: Ipswich Civic Centre, 50 Nicholas Street, Ipswich
Register for the Ipswich community forum

 


 

November 2019

Hearing to be held in Melbourne on the theme of homes and living

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will hold a public hearing in Melbourne from 2 to 6 December 2019.

The public hearing will be focused on homes and living for people with disability in Victoria and the Royal Commission is particularly interested in the experiences of people with a disability who have lived or who are currently living in group homes. The hearing will explore:

  • the right of people with disability to choose their place of residence, including where and with whom they live
  • how the group home model emerged and its impact on the housing options and the experiences of people with disability in Victoria
  • the causes of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of residents of group homes in Victoria
  • the effectiveness of laws, policies and key government agencies to protect residents with disability from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of residents in relation to group homes
  • social inclusion options for living independently and alternatives to the group home model.

You can apply for Leave to Appear at a Hearing of the Royal Commission on the website. Applications are due by Monday, 25 November 2019, 5:00pm (AEDT).

If you are unable or do not wish to apply in writing, or if you need assistance with your application to appear, please phone 1800 517 199.

The hearing will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and will be livestreamed on the Royal Commission website.

The Royal Commission will be holding more hearings on homes and living, as well as other key areas of investigation including the interactions between people with disability and the justice and health systems, and discrimination in employment. 

Upcoming community forums in Hobart

The Royal Commission is holding community forums in Hobart, Tasmania on Tuesday 26 November 2019.

There will be two forums held at the Hobart Function & Conference Centre – one in the morning and one in the evening.

Community forums are an opportunity for the Royal Commission to update the community about its work, and for people with disability and others in the disability community to share their stories with us in an informal environment. Please let us know when you register to attend if you would like to speak publicly, as spaces may be limited. 

Auslan-English interpreters and live captioning will be available. Commission staff will be on hand to talk one on one with anyone who would like to. 

The Royal Commission strongly recommends people register in advance, as spaces will be limited by venue size. 

There will be community forums in other locations around the country. We will let people know about upcoming community forums on our website and through the mailing list. You can get more information about community forums and making submissions on our website too.

Event Details
Hobart

Date: Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Times: 10 am - 12 noon and 6 - 8pm
Venue: Hobart Function & Conference Centre, 1 Elizabeth Street Pier Hobart

Register to the morning community forum
Register to the evening community forum
 

Education issues paper open for comment

As the first public hearing on the theme of education continues, please be reminded that there are still many ways for you to have your say on this topic. 

Right now, there is an education and learning issues paper on the website and responses from the community are being sought.

Over the last decade, the segregation of children with disability into special education units/classes or ‘special’ schools has increased. Students with autism have been disproportionately affected by this increase. First Nations students with disability are also disproportionately over-represented in special schools.

The Royal Commission issues paper on education and learning outlines our preliminary understanding of the key issues and barriers experienced by students with disability. The Royal Commission is encouraging responses from individuals and organisations to the paper on education and learning.  

To assist people who want to provide a response, the issues paper asks 13 questions to help guide submissions. 

Responses are requested by 20 December 2019, although submissions will be accepted after that date. 

Download the issues paper at https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/Pages/default.aspx

 



September 2019

Submissions

The Disability Royal Commission is now accepting submissions. Submissions can be made using the form available on their Submissions page.

If you require assistance with making a submission, support will shortly be available through an advisory service and advocacy support being funded by the Australian Government. Please subscribe to their mailing list if you would like this support and they will let you know as soon as support services are available.

 

Taking part in the Royal Commission

An easy read version of the Draft Accessibility Strategy has been published by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. Click here  to download.


Community Forum

The Royal Commission held its first community forum in Townsville on Monday, 9 September 2019. The community forum is a less formal way in which all Australians, families and care providers can share their experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people living with a disability.

The forum was opened by Commissioner Andrea Mason with three other Commissioners in attendance, along with Special Senior Counsel and Royal Commission Support Staff.

Commissioner Mason reflected on the terms of reference and what the Royal Commission hopes to achieve:

  • How to better protect and prevent people living with a disability from abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation
  • Best practice for reporting and responding to disclosures of abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation
  • Promote a more inclusive society and promote rights of people with disability
  • Focus on themes of individual experiences to identify systemic issues

The forum was not a place for questions to be asked, nor a place to lodge a complaint. It was more a platform for community members to share their experiences. Speakers were instructed not to identify or shame providers nor reveal the identity of other individuals.

Fourteen speakers where heard throughout the day, including people with disability, advocates, families of people with disability and service providers. The speakers spoke of violence, abuse and neglect spanning a range of issues.  A majority of speakers expressed their dissatisfaction with the NDIA and the way in which they operate. They felt that the NDIA focussed on coercive planning and erosion of choice and control. Other common themes where:

  • Substandard services (i.e. QLD health, Education and OPG)
  • Failure of complaint processes
  • An education system that lacks understanding and continues to be non-inclusive
  • Transport issues
  • Access to the NDIS, including administrative practices and understanding 
  • DES services

Information regarding further community forums will be posted on the Disability Royal Commission website.

The first public hearing of the Royal Commission will be held in Brisbane next Monday, 16 September. This officially opens the Royal Commission and provides the opportunity for the Commissioners to be formally introduced, explain how the Commission will operate and what it hopes to achieve.

 

Legal Assistance

Legal Advisory Service

National Legal Aid (NLA) together with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) will provide a free, national legal advisory service for people engaging with the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The legal advisory service will be an independent, trauma informed and culturally safe service that will be delivered nationally.

We are pleased to confirm that NLA will be registering the details of people interested in accessing legal advisory services from Monday 16 September 2019. You can contact NLA on 1800 771 800 between 8.30am-5pm AEST. As well as registering contact details, the helpline will provide basic information, assistance and referrals.

The full range of legal advice services will be rolled out over the coming months and will be available prior to the commencement of public hearings. We will continue to provide updates on all support services as they become available.

An interim website will be available at www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au from Monday 16 September. A national and separate website for the service will also be established in due course.

Legal financial assistance scheme

In addition to information about the legal advisory service, information about the legal financial assistance scheme  is available at www.ag.gov.au. The scheme will provide assistance to individuals and entities to assist with meeting the costs of legal representation and disbursements associated with formal engagement with the Royal Commission. The website includes information on eligibility for the scheme, how to apply and assessment timeframes.

Advocacy Services

Commonwealth-funded advocacy support services are available under the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP).  NDAP advocates will be able to:

  • protect your rights
  • help you say what you want to say
  • provide advice in your best interest
  • act on your behalf to get the supports you need.

Information about the program can be found at National Disability Advocacy Program, along with a Disability Advocacy Finder tool to help you locate a service provider near you.  Alternatively, you can contact the Disability Royal Commission Hotline on 1800 517 199  or at DRCEnquiries@royalcommission.gov.au and we will be happy to assist you to find your nearest advocacy service.

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