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Key Takeaways: Disability Royal Commission

The Disability Royal Commission was established in 2019 in response to widespread reports of violence, as well as neglect, abuse, and exploitation of, people with disability.

The incidents reported may have happened recently or a long time ago.

The Disability Royal Commission investigates:

  • 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.

The Royal Commission will investigate and report on experiences and conditions in all settings including:

  • schools and workplaces
  • jails and detention centres
  • secure disability and mental health facilities
  • group and family homes
  • hospitals
  • day programs.

Nearly 10,000 individuals have shared their experiences through various channels, inculding open forums, public hearings, written submissions, or individual consultations.

The inquiry conducted 33 public hearings and visited every state and territory in Australia to gather evidence and testimony.

A review of the NDIS and Disability services act 1986

As part of their final public hearing, the Australian Government announced a review into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). An independent review panel is to present findings and recommendations of this review in October 2023.

The review is set to look into the design, operation and sustainability of the scheme. It will investigate ways to make the workforce more responsive, supportive and sustainable.

The main objective of the NDIS review is to put people with disability back at the centre of the scheme, and to restore trust, confidence and pride within the scheme.

In November 2022, the Government also announced a review of the Disability Services Act 1986 (Cth) and subordinate legislation.
The purpose of this review is to address priorities in the National Disability Strategy and provide a foundation for disability support services outside of the NDIS.

Violence and abuse experienced by people with disability

Alarming statistics about the violence and abuse experienced by people with disability has been discussed at public hearing 28.
This hearing focused on abuse experienced in public places, generally from people unknown to the victim.

Several witnesses with disability shared their experiences of violence and abuse in public places, including verbal abuse and harassment, intimidation, threatening behaviours, and sexual and physical abuse.

Expert witnesses gave evidence that violence against and abuse of people with disability in public places is an under-reported and under-recognised problem across Australia.

Guardianship, substituted and supported decision making

Two round-table discussions examined the experiences of people with disability, in particular, people with intellectual disability or cognitive impairment, with the guardianships and administration regimes in forces across Australia.

The national framework for supported decision making was taken into consideration with proposed actions including:

  • principals to guide reform of federal, state and territory laws, policies and legal frameworks, as well as policies and practices of public and private bodies
  • guidelines to support implementation
  • a legislative supported decision making model
  • safeguarding mechanisms
  • education, training and capacity building
  • establishing a government body.

The second round-table discussed proposals to reform guardianship and administration arrangements.

The round-table built on the proposed actions at the first discussion and focused on how to apply the proposed supported decision-making model within Australia’s legal framework for guardianship and administration.

Participants highlighted the need for any best practice guardianship model to focus on the support a person needs to make decisions.

A final report to the Australian Government will be made in September, 2023. This report will include recommendations on how to improve laws, policies, structures and practices to insure a more inclusive and just society.

For more indepth information of the Disability Royal Commission, visit disability.royalcommission.gov.au or contact 1800 517 199

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