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Disability Royal Commission

Information about the disability royal commission, including the scope of investigation and how to participate in the process.

What is the Disability Royal Commission?

This is the shortened name for the Commonwealth Government's Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability. The commission was established in April 2019 in response to concern from the community about widespread reports of violence, abuse and neglect of people with a disability. The role of the commission is to investigate how to:

  • prevent and protect people with a disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • achieve best practice in reporting concerns about these behaviours
  • promote a more inclusive society that supports people with a disability to be independent and to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The commission will run until at least 2022.

See Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability(opens in a new window).

Investigations of all settings

The commission will investigate and report on experiences and conditions in all settings and contexts, including:

  • schools
  • workplaces
  • jails and detention centres
  • secure disability and mental health facilities
  • group homes and boarding houses
  • family homes
  • hospitals
  • day programs.

Investigations will be conducted by gathering information through research, public hearings, and through stories of the personal experiences from people made in submissions, private sessions and in other forums.

Public hearings

The commission is holding a series of public hearings nationally to gather evidence about violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation of people with a disability. These hearings are formal proceedings where witnesses give evidence, under oath or by affirmation, about events and issues that are relevant to the commission. These hearings are public and are streamed live on the commission's website.

The commission will invite people and organisations who may have a direct and substantial interest in a particular hearing to make an application for leave to appear. These applications are generally made by people or organisations who are the subject of evidence before the commission. They could include service providers and government agencies as well as individuals.

See Disability Royal Commission—Schedule of public hearings(opens in a new window).

Help for people who want to tell their story

A free legal service has been established for people who want to engage with the commission to tell their story. This service gives free, independent legal advice to:

  • people with a disability
  • families of people with a disability
  • carers
  • supporters and advocates.

The service will explain how a person can tell their story to the commission. They can put a person in touch with a lawyer if they need to get legal advice. They can also connect people to other support services such as counsellors or social workers.

See Your Story Disability Legal Support(opens in a new window).

A person may need help from a lawyer if:

  • they want to name a person or organisation in their submission
  • there are restrictions on telling a story to the commission, such as a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement
  • they are worried about what might happen if they do tell their story, how this might affect their (or someone else's safety, access to services, employment of rights)

Lawyers will make contact as soon as they can, aiming to do so before the relevant public hearing. A person may be eligible for legal advice by phone, via skype or video conference or face-to-face where this is possible (although this face-to-face service has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. People wo want face-to-face service can call the infoline and register. The service will make contact when the face-to-face service resumes.

What to expect at a legal advice session

The lawyer will speak about legal rights and how to engage with the commission. For example, a person could engage by:

  • making a submission
  • participating in a community forum
  • providing evidence at a hearing, or
  • sharing information about their experiences at a private session.

See Your story disability legal support—Making a submission(opens in a new window).

Support from the Attorney General

The Commonwealth Attorney General has provided additional financial assistance for people who cannot afford their own lawyer to engage with the commission. The Attorney General's website has information about getting funding to make a submission.

See Attorney General's Department—Legal assistance for people engaging with the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability(opens in a new window).

More information

Reference

Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability

The commission's website has information about the commission's aims and processes including public hearings, how to make a submission to tell your story, including how to ask for a private session.

See Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability(opens in a new window).

Your Story Disability Legal Support

See:

Attorney General

See Attorney General's Department—Legal assistance for people engaging with the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability(opens in a new window).

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