Disability Royal Commission
About the Disability Royal Commission
Due to on-going concerns identified in the care, support, engagement and social validity of people with disabilities in Australia. In 2019 the Australian Government established the Disability Royal Commission (DRC). The DRC was created to investigate:
Preventing and better protecting people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
Achieving best practice in reporting, investigating and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability
Promoting a more inclusive society that supports people with disability to be independent and live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
To ensure all aspects of a person with disabilities life was considered within the Royal Commission, the DRC investigated experiences and conditions in all settings. These included:
Jails and detention centres
Secure disability and mental health facilities
Group homes and boarding houses
About the Disability Royal Commission's process
Originally anticipated to conclude in March 2022, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the sheer number of submissions the DRC was extended by 18 months until September 2023. The DRC welcomed all people from across Australia to submit their stories and experiences. Submissions could be on experiences of good practice; or lived experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. Submissions were welcome to be delivered in any format the individual wished to present including face to face, virtual, via art and expression, in native language and supported by advocates/interpreters. Over this time the DRC has received 7944 submissions; held 1785 private sessions; hosted 33 public hearings covering a range of subjects; and issued 14 papers published (current as at 1/09/2023).
When will the Disability Royal Commission conclude?
The DRC will publish the final report on the 29th of September 2023; hosting the closing ceremony in Sydney on the 15th of September 2023. After this time it is anticipated the federal government will publish a response, however this will take time to prepare. Organisations are able to act sooner, learning from the publications produced from the DRC and look within their own spheres of influence as to where improvements can be implemented and those living with disability in our community can live as valued members of our community, free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
ARC has been supportive of the DRC since its initial announcement. As an organisation established in 1976 by families who identified a gap in services and inclusion, the organisation has continued to evolve over the past 47 years ensuring the needs of participants and their families/support networks have guided the organisations services and growth.
ARC’s Board and Senior Leadership Team have been observing the DRC over the past 4 years and learning from the public hearings and publications. With the support of external consultants, ARC has reviewed a number of key learnings from the DRC and have been looking inwardly as to how internal improvements could be implemented to further support the organisation in ensuring person centred active supports are at the forefront of all service delivery.
To ensure the voice of participants are embedded in all organisations actions and decisions into the future, in 2022 ARC introduced the “Participant Voice Representative Group” (PVRG). A sub-committee of ARC’s Board and enshrined within the organisations constitution. The PVRG will advise ARC’s Board and Leadership on services and practices to ensure the organisation is able to remain contemporary in the needs of people with disabilities and their support networks within our community.
ARC acknowledges that the lived experiences of people with disability has not always been one free from violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation. ARC wishes to walk the journey of healing with individuals who may have had negative experiences over the course of their life, and look towards a future where people with disability are valued members of their community. A life where people with disability have true choice and control, are empowered to speak up and out; and contribute meaningfully to society.
ARC is committed to a culture of continuous improvement and will work to ensure the voice of individuals with disability; and their support networks remain the “true north” as the organisation continues to evolve.
Disability Royal Commission: https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/
Cairns Local Advocacy & Support: https://www.rightsinaction.org/