Disability advocates call for deeper examination of issues as Disability Royal Commission submissions come to an end

As we approach the end of 2022, the public engagement phase of the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) is drawing to a close, with the final date for all submissions set for 31 December 2022.

People with disability, families, advocates and representative organisations worked for many years to advocate for a Royal Commission to address violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability in Australia.

Since the DRC was set up in April 2019, a considerable amount of work has been done both within the DRC and across the disability community – despite significant disruption caused by COVID-19.

The DRC has cast its lens across an extensive domain to shine a light on the widespread issues of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation about which people with disability, advocates and organisations have spent many years calling for justice. At the same time Disability Representative Organisations (DROs) have worked tirelessly to represent the experiences of people with disability, respond to submission requests, provide expert advice and to support others to share their stories with the Commissioners and their team.

While we acknowledge their significant progress so far, we believe several areas remain unexamined in the Royal Commission’s public work or require further inquiry to make specific recommendations.  In response, DROs have worked together to provide a joint submission to the DRC outlining gaps in the scope of work undertaken to date and issues that require further examination. It includes suggestions for a deeper look into critical areas such as:

  • Employment and financial security
  • Inclusive homes and communities
  • Safety rights and justice
  • Personal and community support
  • Education and learning
  • Health and well being
  • Community attitudes

Our joint submission supports the vital work to date of the Royal Commission and offers further advice and input to inform the recommendations that will follow in 2023. In the years to come, these recommendations will be a vital tool in our advocacy for Australian society to fully uphold the human rights of all people with disability in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), so we ask for the Royal Commission to ensure that the settings, structures, and contexts we identified are adequately interrogated.

It is only with the continued collaboration, co-design and cooperation between government, disability service providers, DROs and people with disability that this critical opportunity to enhance the human rights of all people with disability in Australia will achieve its full impact.

Joint statement from

  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO)
  • Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA)
  • Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA)
  • First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN)
  • Inclusion Australia
  • National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
  • People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
  • Women with Disabilities Australian (WWDA)

Download our submission here: DRO Joint Submission to DRC on identified gaps – November 2022

The document highlights the role of independent disability advocacy in a range of contexts, including in relation to:

  • people with disability identifying and expressing their housing preferences and finding accommodation;
  • safeguarding, rights and justice;
  • safety in segregated settings including group homes and supported accommodation;
  • responding to and preventing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • people with cognitive disability (and their families, carers and supporters) advocating for health care and treatment; and
  • improving community attitudes and promoting inclusion.