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

On 5 April 2019, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP and Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, announced the establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The Royal Commission want to hear from any person who has experience of, has observed or has views about violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with disability.

Explanation of these terms are provided by the Royal Commission as:

  • Violence – someone is hurting you physically, or has in the past
  • Abuse – someone is treating you badly, or has in the past
  • Neglect – someone is not helping you the way they are supposed to help you, or has in the past
  • Exploitation – someone is taking advantage of you, or has in the past.

The Royal Commission explains the terms in more detail on their website.

Mai-Wel has been an advocate for the rights of people living with disability for 60 years and will continue to support those actively working for a positive change.

Mai-Wel has had no interaction with the Royal Commission, however should the occasion arise Mai-Wel will be prepared to work with the relevant parties to provide information, advice and support to ensure a desired outcome for the people at the core of our values and vision; people with disability.

What is a Royal Commission?

A Royal Commission is an investigation, independent of government, into a matter of great importance. Royal Commissions have broad powers to hold public hearings, call witnesses under oath and compel evidence, all with a view to understand issues and to make recommendations to government about what should change.

Terms of Reference for this Royal Commission

Each Royal Commission has Terms of Reference, which define the issues it will look into. This Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference cover what should be done to:

  • Prevent and better protect people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • Achieve best practice in reporting and investigation of, and responding to, violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • Promote a more inclusive society that supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

What has happened with the Royal Commission so far?

In the time since the Royal Commission was established in April 2019, there has been a lot of work undertaken.

On 20 December 2019, the Royal Commission released the First Progress Report providing an overview of the work undertaken by the Royal Commission during the period of 5 April to 18 December 2019, and an outline of the Royal Commission’s program for 2020.

On 11 August 2020, the Royal Commission released the Second Progress Report summarising the work carried out by the Royal Commission during the period of 1 January and 30 June.

Some points of importance include;

  • The Royal Commission issued a COVID-19 Statement of Concern on 26 March 2020, recognising the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disability.
  • Public hearings held so far:
  • Public hearings to come:
    • Public hearing 6: Psychotropic medication, behaviour support and behaviours of concern – Tentative date: week of 21 September 2020. Location: Sydney
    • Public hearing 7: Barriers experienced by students with disability in accessing and obtaining a safe, quality and inclusive school education and consequent life course impacts – Tentative date: week of 12 October 2020. Location: Brisbane
    • Public hearing 8: Long term, including indefinite, detention and interactions with the criminal justice system experienced by people with disability – Tentative date: week of 16 November 2020. Location: Brisbane
    • Public hearing 9: The experiences of First Nations people with disability and their families in contact with child protection systems – Tentative date: week of 23 November 2020. Location: Brisbane
    • Public hearing 10: Training and education of health care professionals in relation to people with cognitive disability – Tentative date: to be determined for December 2020. Location: Sydney
    • Public hearing 11: Systemic barriers in the pathways to employment for people with disability – Tentative date: to be determined for December 2020. Location: Sydney
  • Community forums have been held in Adelaide and Gawler in South Australia, Townsville, Ipswich and Logan in Queensland, and Hobart in Tasmania.
  • Regional and remote community visits have occurred to Toowoomba, Palm Island and Cherbourg in Queensland, and Papunya in Northern Territory.
  • Workshops have been held across Australia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face engagement activities have ceased however the Royal Commission is using technology to keep in touch with the community.

Keeping updated with the Royal Commission

The Royal Commission’s newsletter Connect, is available fortnightly to provides updates and news on the Commission’s work. Click here to read Connect.

All information about the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is available at www.disability.royalcommission.gov.au.

As information is made available, Mai-Wel will provide updates on this page and via the Mai-Wel Facebook page where possible.

Free, independent and confidential support for people with disability, families and carers

Free, independent counselling and advocacy support is available for people with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. This support can also help people, including families and carers, engage with the Disability Royal Commission. If you would like support or to find out more, call 1800 421 468 or visit the Disability Royal Commission website.

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