The Disability Royal Commission and how to get involved
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:
They will look at these issues across all settings and environments, including schools, hospitals, workplaces and homes.
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:
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.
The Interim Report was published on 30 October 2020. It sets out what the Royal Commission has done in its first 15 months, the cut-off point being 31 July 2020.
The Royal Commission decided to publish Progress Reports at intervals of approximately six months. The reports are primarily intended to provide a brief account of the Royal Commission’s activities over the preceding half-year period. They are distinct from the interim report which the Royal Commission published on the 30 October 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The Royal Commission runs until 2022. The Commissioners have been asked to provide their final report to the Commonwealth Government by 29 April 2022.
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)
The Disability Royal Commission and how to get involved
How can we help keep children and young people with disability safe?
What to do when harm occurs - or you suspect it
What is violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of children and young people with disability
Disability community renews our calls for Commissioners to stand aside
The right to inclusive education must not be contested by the Disability Royal Commission at the first hearing commencing in Townsville today
Research & reports
Towards inclusive education: A necessary process of transformation
Disability Royal Commission - Education of children and young people with disability
Draft accessibility strategy of the Royal Commission into Violence Abuse Neglect and Exploitation
Inquiry into violence abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings
Research & reports
Strengthening participation of children and young people with disability in advocacy
Research & reports
Enabling and protecting: Proactive approaches to addressing the abuse an neglect of children and young people with disability
Disability Royal Commission - information for community members
Disability Royal Commission - information for families
Disability Royal Commission - information for young people