Disability Royal Commission

Learn more about the Disability Royal Commission and how to share your story

    About the Royal Commission

    The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability – commonly called the Disability Royal Commission – was established in 2019. It is scheduled to run until 2022.

    A Royal Commission is an independent investigation into issues of public importance. Commissioners are appointed by the government. They will commission research, hear evidence and receive submissions, and then make recommendations to government about what should change.

    For the Disability Royal Commission, the Commissioners have been asked to consider a range of issues, including:

    • 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.

    They will look at these issues across all settings and environments, including schools, hospitals, workplaces and homes.

    How you can get involved

    If you or your child have experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation, you can share your story with the Royal Commission.

    There are several ways you can do this:

    • Write your thoughts down. You can email them to the Commission, fill out an online submission form, or send in a written submission. The Commission's website has guiding questions to help you write your submission.
    • Talk to someone at the Commission, by calling 1800 517 199 or 07 3734 1900 from 9am to 6pm AEDT Monday to Friday.
    • Record your story (voice or video) and send it to the Commission.
    • Apply for a private session with a Commissioner. This is a chance to speak with a Commissioner directly about your experiences. **Please note, because of the coronavirus pandemic, private sessions have been postponed until further notice.

    The Royal Commission is also releasing issues papers about particular topics. So far, these include education and learning, justice, and group homes. The issues papers contain questions you can answer in your submission if you would like.

    You can provide as many submissions as you would like. For example, you may choose to provide a submission about a particular incident that happened at your child's school, and then make additional submissions about other incidents.

    Free support is available

    There are three types of free support being provided for people who are affected by the Royal Commission, or who would like to share their stories. These include people with disability as well as their families and carers.

    Counselling

    Blue Knot Foundation offers free, specialist counselling support and a referral service for people with disability, their families and carers, and anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission.

    You can call Blue Knot Foundation’s national hotline on 1800 421 468 (9am to 6pm AEDT Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm AEDT on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays). Blue Knot can provide counselling and also refer you to local services in your state or territory.

    Please visit the Royal Commission's website for information about accessing Blue Knot's services in another language or if you have a hearing impairment.

    Advocacy

    You can get free advocacy support to help with preparing your submission, and you can also talk to advocates about assistance with other matters.

    Find your nearest advocacy service through the Department of Social Services' Disability Advocacy Finder or through the Disability Advocacy Network of Australia.

    Legal services

    Free, independent legal advice is available from Your Story Disability Legal Support, to help you interact with the Royal Commission.

    You can call Your Story on 1800 771 800 (9.15am to 5.15pm AEDT Monday to Friday). Please visit their website for information about accessing their services in another language or if you have a hearing impairment.

    Your Story has a range of resources on their website to help when you're planning your submission, including factsheets and FAQs.

    More information

    For more information about the Disability Royal Commission, please visit the Commission website. Download contact list of Disability Royal Commission support services by jurisdiction. You can also subscribe to have updates emailed to you. 

    CYDA has been funded to engage with the Royal Commission over the next two years. For more information about our work around the Commission, please contact our Policy and Program Manager Maeve Kennedy on 03 9417 1025 or 1800 222 660 (regional or interstate callers). You can also This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    FAQs

    • What topics is the Royal Commission interested in hearing about?

      The scope of the Disability Royal Commission is broad. The Commissioners have been asked to consider the violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability, and their exploitation, across all settings and contexts, including schools, workplaces, homes and hospitals.

      The Commission's definitions of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation are set out on its website, and the full Terms of Reference are also available on the website (in the Letters Patent).

    • Who does the Royal Commission want to hear from?

      The Disability Royal Commission wants to hear from all Australians about their experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

      More information about engaging with the Royal Commission is available from its website.

    • How do I share my story with the Royal Commission?

      There are lots of ways to share your story, or your child's story, with the Royal Commission. 

      You can make a submission – in writing, by email, by telephone, or by voice or video recording. You can make as many submissions as you would like.

      You can also apply for a private session with a Commissioner, where you can share your story directly.

      Various free supports are available to help you in preparing your submission. For more information about making a submission, contact CYDA or the Royal Commission directly.

    • What supports are available to help me?

      There are free, independent support services available to help you or your family interact with the Royal Commission, or support you through any emotional challenges you are experiencing that are related to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

      Brief information is provided below, with more information available on the Royal Commission's website.

      Counselling

      A free, confidential counselling support and referral service is available through the Blue Knot Foundation for anyone who is affected by the Royal Commission, its activities, or the process of sharing their experiences.

      To contact Blue Knot, call 1800 421 468 (9am-6pm AEST Monday to Friday; 9am-5pm AEST Saturday, Sunday and public holidays). If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, call the National Relay Service on 133 677 and give 02 6146 1468 as the number you want to call.

      For support in languages other than English, Blue Knot can access interpreters or you can use the free national Translating and Interpreting Service by calling 131 450.

      Legal advice

      Free, independent legal advice is available for people interacting with the Disability Royal Commission, through Your Story Disability Legal Support. 

      To contact the service, visit its website or call 1800 771 800 (9:15am-5:15pm AEST Monday to Friday).

      Advocacy

      Disability advocacy services around the country have received funding to support people with their submissions to the Royal Commission. To find an advocacy service near you, visit the Department of Social Services' Disability Advocacy Finder or the Disability Advocacy Network of Australia's Find an Advocate page.

    • What is the closing date for submissions?

      There is currently no closing date for submissions to the Royal Commission. The Commission provides regular updates on its activities via its website and social media channels, and through its email newsletter. Any changes to deadlines will be shared through these channels. 

      The Royal Commission releases regular issues papers on various topics – these include suggested deadlines but they are not compulsory. You can still provide a submission after the suggested date.

    • How will my privacy be protected?

      The Royal Commission will not make individual submissions public on its website, at hearings or through other activities of the Commission unless consent is provided by the person making the submission. You can make confidential submissions if you wish.

      Before making a confidential submission, or for any other questions about confidentiality, please contact Your Story Disability Legal Support for free, independent legal advice.

    • When will the Royal Commission end?

      The Royal Commission runs until 2022. The Commissioners have been asked to provide their final report to the Commonwealth Government by 29 April 2022.

    • What is the Royal Commission's interest in education and learning?

      Education and learning is a key area of inquiry for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (the Royal Commission). The right to education is not only a right of every child and young person with disability, but it is also critical to achieving social transformation for people with disability through empowerment, inclusion and the unlocking of human potential.

      The Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education has developed a fact sheet to assist people looking to engage with the Royal Commission on the topic of education and learning.

      Disability Royal Commission-Education and Learning (PDF)

      Disability Royal Commission-Education and Learning (Word)

       

    Resources

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    A horrific playground incident: how one school failed its students

    News & media

    October 2020

    A horrific playground incident: how one school failed its students

    Article

    Submissions

    October 2020

    Disability Royal Commission - Response to Restrictive Practices issues paper

    Article

    Submissions

    October 2020

    Disability Royal Commission - Response to Employment issues paper

    Article

    Media: Disability Royal Commission and CYDA in the media

    News

    October 2020

    Media: Disability Royal Commission and CYDA in the media

    Article

    Submissions

    October 2020

    Disability Royal Commission - Response to Rights and Attitudes issues paper

    Article

    Joint media statement: Australia is failing students with disability, evidence to the Royal Commission will show

    News

    October 2020

    Joint media statement: Australia is failing students with disability, evidence to the Royal Commission will show

    Article

    Media: Time for change in disability support

    News

    September 2020

    Media: Time for change in disability support

    Audio

    Privacy concerns a stumbling block for Disability Royal Commission submissions

    Media Releases

    September 2020

    Privacy concerns a stumbling block for Disability Royal Commission submissions

    Article

    Media: Students with disabilities could be disadvantaged if HECS loans are removed from failing students

    News

    September 2020

    Media: Students with disabilities could be disadvantaged if HECS loans are removed from failing students

    Audio

    Open letter to the Attorney-General The Hon. Christian Porter MP

    Media Releases

    September 2020

    Open letter to the Attorney-General The Hon. Christian Porter MP

    Article

    No plan, no voice, clumsy solutions for children and young people with disability through COVID 19

    Media Releases

    August 2020

    No plan, no voice, clumsy solutions for children and young people with disability through COVID 19

    Article

    Research & reports

    August 2020

    Contact list - Disability Royal Commission support services by jurisdiction

    Article

    Submissions

    May 2020

    Disability Royal Commission - Emergency planning and response during COVID-19

    Article

    Submissions

    May 2020

    Inquiry into the Australian Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic

    Article

    More than isolated’: COVID-19 compounds inequities for children and young people with disability

    Media Releases

    May 2020

    More than isolated’: COVID-19 compounds inequities for children and young people with disability

    Article