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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.

Watch this video below about 'Our Royal Commission:'

Tip: Click the subtitles button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to turn closed captions on and off.

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

Photo of a someone holding a lit candle in the palm of their hand.

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

Public hearings are formal meetings where people are asked to give evidence about events and issues that are relevant to the Disability Royal Commission’s terms of reference (external link).

The Royal Commission is holding these public meetings around Australia to hear from people with disability about their experiences of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. All public hearings of the Disability Royal Commission are recorded and streamed live.

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


October Hearing – Women and Girls

In October, the Disability Royal Commission is holding a Public Hearing on the Health and Safety of Women and Girls with Disability. In the lead up to this hearing, it is now more vital than ever women and girls tell our stories to the Royal Commission.

Want more information?
Read more information about the October Public Hearing on Health and Safety of Women and Girls with Disability on the WWDA website (available in Plain English and Easy Read).

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. The Australian Parliament is also currently discussing plans to keep private information confidential after the end of the official inquiry.

Privacy

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

The Royal Commission can currently protect your identity and the information you share until the Royal Commission ends. The Australian Parliament is also currently discussing plans to keep private information confidential after the end of the official inquiry.

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.

You can find more information and apply for a private session on the Royal Commission website (external link).

Where to get support

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

Counselling and support

If you have experienced or witnessed violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation or are affected by the Disability Royal Commission, you can get free counselling, support and referral services to help you.

1800RESPECT
Call 1800 737 732 or chat to someone online (external link).

BlueKnot National Counselling and Referral Service
Call 1800 421 468 or visit the Department of Social Services website (external link).


Legal support

The Your Story Disability Legal Support Service provides free advice and support 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

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

To access the NDAP program, you can contact the Disability Royal Commission Hotline. Call 1800 517 199 or email DRCEnquiries@royalcommission.gov.au.

Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association (MDAA)
The Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association (MDAA) (external link) assists people with disability who are from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities to be able to tell their story to the Royal Commission.

To learn more and get help from MDAA, call 1800 629 072 or email mdaa@mdaa.org.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

External website
1800RESPECT
A 24-hour confidential information, counselling and support service. Phone or chat online now.
Apple App Store
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Visit Website
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External website
Disability Royal Commission Support Services fact sheet - Easy Read version
An Easy Read fact sheet about the support you can get to take part in the Disability Royal Commission.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Your Story Disability Legal Support: Resources for People with Disability
Information and resources to cover all your questions about the Disability Royal Commission, including how to share your story, where to get support and more!
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Your Story Disability Legal Support: Resources for carers
Resources for carers and families to support people with disability to take part in the Disability Royal Commission.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
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External website
Your Story Disability Legal Support: Resources for Organisations
Resources for organisations and workers to support people to learn about and take part in the disability royal commission.
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: 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
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Watch Video
Videos
Disability Royal Commission YouTube Channel
A series of videos about the Disability Royal Commission.
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
Videos
Women WIth Disabilities Australia: Our Royal Commission Videos
Videos about the Disability Royal Commission and why it is important for women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people to tell their stories.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
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External website
Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA): Our Disability Royal Commission
Information about the Royal Commission on the WWDA website.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
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Listen Now
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Download PDF
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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
Download PDF
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Watch Video

Where to next:

External website
Australian Government: Disability Advocacy and Counselling Support
Information about counselling and advocacy support for people who are thinking about taking part in the Disability Royal Commission or are affected by violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
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
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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
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Listen Now
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Download PDF
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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
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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
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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
The Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association (MDAA)
MDAA assists people with disability who are from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities to be able to tell their story to 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
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
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Watch Video
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