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.


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

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


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.