The Disability Royal Commission Interim Report, released on 30 October 2020, acknowledges and reflects the extremely important role of disability advocates and advocacy organisations in supporting people with disability to heard during the DRC processes. This is also evident in the numerous references to evidence given by advocates at hearings and advocacy organisations’ submissions throughout the lengthy document. “We have heard from many advocacy and representative organisations that increased advocacy is a key measure to address violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and would lead to a more inclusive society. We have also heard that there is a lack of advocacy services, including for First Nations people with disability and people with complex needs, and that existing advocacy services are under-funded.” (page 18)
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You may remember that DANA, with other National disability peak organisations, sent a joint letter in September to the Hon. Christian Porter MP to express concern about the lack of long-term legislative protections for confidentiality. The Attorney-General published a media release on 20 October announcing these amendments will be made, indicating that: “I have instructed my department to work swiftly on the amendments, with the aim of introducing in the Autumn sittings of 2021.” DANA has been hearing from advocates that this lack of assurance is adding uncertainty and complexity to the process of making submissions or deterring people from sharing their story.
The Disability Royal Commission public hearing in October was focused on Barriers to accessing a safe, quality and inclusive school education and life course impact. On the first day of the hearing Commissioners heard from a panel of representatives from advocacy organisations, with particular knowledge of education issues.
Your advocacy organisation can now add your support to a joint letter to the Hon. Christian Porter MP, calling upon the Attorney-General to introduce legislation into the Australian Parliament to protect the confidentiality of information given to Disability Royal Commission. The Government has been aware of the need to amend the Royal Commissions Act since February and it’s well past time these changes were made.
This public hearing in September examined use of psychotropic medication as a chemical restraint. A chemical restraint occurs when medication is not used to treat a diagnosed mental disorder, a physical illness or a physical condition but used for the purpose of influencing a person’s behaviour. Advocates from around the country shared their observations and insights on the topic, reflecting an over-reliance on psychotropic medication to manage “behaviours” and inadequate oversight mechanisms and safeguards for people with disability
The Royal Commission held a public hearing in Sydney from Tuesday 18 to Friday 21 August 2020. The four days of hearings included appearances by advocates and representatives of advocacy organisations, and National peak disability representative organisations.