Disability Royal Commission

In April 2019, the Australian Government announced a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

On this page you can learn more about what the Royal Commission is and how you can participate.

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What is the Royal Commission?

A Royal Commission is a public inquiry that allows the Australian Government to look into a particular issue. In the Australian system of government, royal commissions are the highest form of inquiry on matters of public importance.

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
was announced in 2019 in recognition of the fact that people with disability across Australia experience violence at higher rates and in more specific ways than other groups of people. The Royal Commission is due to be finished by April 2022.

The Royal Commission is looking into all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of people with disability in all settings and contexts. This includes violence in family homes, group homes, schools, TAFEs and universities, workplaces, health services and hospitals, community settings and more.

The Royal Commission applies to all people with disability and recognises that people’s experiences of violence are often influenced by other things like age, sex, gender, sexuality, race, cultural background and socioeconomic status.

 

Why was the Disability Royal Commission

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announced?

In Australia, people with disability of all ages experience higher rates of violence than the general population, and often experience violence in ways that are specific to their disability.

People with disability are at even higher risk of experiencing violence if they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQA+) or come from a culturally diverse background. Women and girls with disability from all of these groups are subject to violence more often and more intensely than others and are less likely to get support.

Did you know?

In a survey run by Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPOA) in early 2019,
more than 30% of people with disability said they had experienced violence or abuse. [1]
You can read the report on the DPOA website (external link).

Key terms you should know

Violence and abuse

Violence and abuse refers to all forms of assault, sexual assault, physical restrictive practices, chemical restraints, forced treatments, humiliation and harassment, financial and economic abuse and violations of privacy and rights.

Neglect

Neglect refers to when someone denies another person things they need, including physical and emotional supports. This can be things like food, drink, housing, clothes education, psychological and medical care.

Exploitation

Exploitation refers to taking advantage of another person for your own benefit. It includes things like forced prostitution and trafficking, as well as workforce labour without fair pay. It also includes someone using another person's assets or resources for their own advantage.

Tip: You can learn more about different types of violence on the What is Violence? page.

How to take part in the Royal Commission

If you are an Australian woman or girl with disability and have experienced any form of violence, abuse, neglect and/or exploitation, you can tell your story to the Royal Commission.

 

Public hearings

The Royal Commission is holding public meetings around Australia to hear from people with disability about their experiences of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. These meetings are called hearings.

You can find details about the dates and locations of hearings on the Royal Commission website (external link).

 

Submissions

One of the main ways the Commission will receive information about violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of people with disability is through submissions. Submissions can be made by both individuals and organisations.  


Making a Submission


What is a submission

submission is a way for you to tell the Commission if you have experienced any form of violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect. Anyone can make a submission to the Royal Commission.


How to make a submission

You can make a submission in writing, or through a video or audio recording. All languages are accepted.

To do this, you can download a form from the Royal Commission website (external link).
Forms are available in Plain English and Easy Read.

You can also make a submission by calling the Commission on 1800 517 199 or (07) 3734 1900 or by sending the Commission an email at DRCenquiries@royalcommission.gov.au.

Tip: You can download our Fact Sheet: Making a Government Submission to learn more.

What happens to my submission?

Once you have made a submission, it will be viewed by the Royal Commissioners. The Royal Commission may use information from your submission in its reports and other publications. Personal information like your name and contact details will not be published, unless you want it to be. You will need to tell the Royal Commission if you want your name and contact details to be kept confidential.

Privacy

If you share your story with the Royal Commission, you can ask for your information to be kept private.

The Royal Commission can protect your identity and the information you share until the Royal Commission ends in April 2022. After this time, the Australian Parliament can decide what happens to your information.

Private sessions

If you are worried about your identity or the information you have provided being shared after the Royal Commission has ended, you may be able to tell your story with a Commissioner in a private session.

More information about private sessions will be posted on the Royal Commission website (external link) when it is available.

Where to get support

There are a number of ways you can be supported to participate in all aspects of the Royal Commission.

1800RESPECT 

If you have experienced violence you can contact 1800RESPECT for counselling, support and referral.
Call 1800 737 732 or chat to someone online (external link). If you are in immediate danger, always call 000.


Legal support

The National Legal Aid (NLA) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) are offering free legal advice to people engaging with the Royal Commission.

You can get more information about the service by or calling 1800 771 800 or going to the Your Story: Disability legal support website (external link).

Financial help

If you need to access legal support to help you engage with the Royal Commission, you may be able to receive financial support to pay for any costs involved.  

You can find out if you are eligible for financial assistance and how to apply on the Australian Government Attorney General website (external link).

Tip: You can find more information about getting legal and financial help on our Money page.


Advocacy support

The National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) is also offering free advocacy services to people with disability wanting to engage with the Royal Commission. These services can:

  • give you advice about how you can engage with the royal commission
  • help you to write or make a submission
  • protect your rights
  • help you get any other support that you need.

If you have any questions, you can contact the Disability Royal Commission Hotline. Call 1800 517 199 or email DRCEnquiries@royalcommission.gov.au.

Find an advocate

To find an advocate near you, you can search on the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) website (external link) and/or use the online Disability Advocacy Finder (external link).

[1] Disabled People's Organisations Australia (2019) Violence against people with disability (external link).

Important Resources

Publications
WWDA Position Statement 1: Right to Freedom from Violence
Information from WWDA about the right to safety from all forms of violence and abuse.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
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Watch Video
Guides
Our Site Fact Sheet: Disability Advocacy
A fact sheet explaining what disability advocacy is.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
WWDA Human Rights Toolkit
A toolkit split into 8 sections with information to help women with disability understand and stand up for their rights.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
1800RESPECT
A 24-hour confidential information, counselling and support service. Phone or chat online now.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
WWDA Easy English Human Rights Toolkit
A toolkit split into 4 parts with information in Easy English to help women with disability understand and stand up for their rights.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Our Site Fact Sheet: What is Violence?
A WWDA fact sheet about the different types of violence.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Our Site Fact Sheet: Standing Up For Your Rights
A fact sheet with information to help you stand up for your rights.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Our Site Fact Sheet: Contacting Members of Parliament
A fact sheet about how to contact a member of parliament.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Our Site Fact Sheet: Making a Government Submission
A fact sheet about how to make a government submission.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
1800 Respect Easy English Book 1 - Learn About Violence
Easy English book about violence.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
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Download PDF
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Guides
1800 Respect Easy English Book 2 - Learn About Rights
Easy English book about your right to be safe from violence.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
1800 Respect Easy English Book 3 - Where Violence Happens and Who Can Do Violence
Easy English book about where violence happesns and who can do violence.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
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Where to next:

External website
Your Story: Disability Legal Support
This website has information about the free national legal services available to support you to share your story with the Disability Royal Commission.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
Information about the Disability Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, including how to make a submission.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Disability Clothes Line
A project that supports people with disability to tell their stories about violence and abuse through a creative form of activism.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Videos
Disability Royal Commission YouTube Channel
A series of videos about the Royal Commission.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Disability Royal Commission: Unofficial Information site
A website with information to help you take part in the Royal Commission.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
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External website
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO): Royal Commission
A website with information about the Royal Commission.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
People With Disability Australia: Royal Commission Hub
Information about the Disability Royal Commission from the national organisation for all people with disability in Australia.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
WWILD
WWILD supports people with intellectual or learning disabilities who have experienced sexual abuse or have been victims of crime. WWILD also works with the families, carers and services who support them.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Relationships Australia WA
Relationships Australia WA offers counselling and support for people affected by the Disability Royal Commission. Call 6164 0180 or email drc@relationshipswa.org.au.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video