The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is seeking information about the experiences of people with disability during recent emergencies in Australia.
The Emergency Planning and Response Issues Paper published this week seeks feedback about what can be done to improve the safety and wellbeing of people with disability during similar emergencies in the future.
It also asks what should be done to ensure people with disability are not at risk of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation during emergencies.
The Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC said all Australian governments have a responsibility to uphold the rights of people with disability during emergencies.
‘The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic our country is facing comes just months after the summer bushfire crisis. Both of these events have had a profound effect on the Australian population.
‘We already know that people with disability can be severely affected by emergencies and may be at a higher risk of experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation at these times.
‘Our recent Statement of Concern about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disability has been strongly endorsed by more than 70 Disability People’s and Disability Representative Organisations across Australia in an Open Letter to the National Cabinet.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has also endorsed our call for action.
‘We are encouraging people with disability, as well as their families, advocates and experts to provide information about how emergency planning and responses can be improved,’ said the Chair.
The Royal Commission is interested in understanding the particular experiences of people with disability in closed environments and segregated settings as well as people with disability from First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, women, children and young people and LGBTQI+ people.