Creating a voice for the Disability Sector
Creating a voice for the Disability Sector
Submissions flood in as Royal Commission releases new paper

Submissions flood in as Royal Commission releases new paper

14 December 2021

More than 3200 submissions and almost 11,500 telephone inquiries have been received by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

As the Royal Commission releases an Overview of responses to the Experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability Issues Paper, it is timely to reflect on the volume of evidence heard since the Disability Royal Commission was established in April 2019.

Latest statistics from the commission shows 3262 submissions have been received so far, along with 11,439 phone inquiries.

The commission has issued 13 papers and 720 responses to issues papers and has held 772 private sessions.

Its recently-released Overview of responses to the Experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability Issues Paper was in response to community concern about widespread reports of violence against, and the neglect, abuse and exploitation of, people with disability.

These incidents might have happened recently or a long time ago.The Disability Royal Commission will investigate:

  • 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 issues paper was released on March 9, 2021 and invited the public to share information with the Royal Commission to help it better understand violence against, and abuse, neglect, and exploitation of, people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

In particular, the Royal Commission was seeking to better understand how to improve responses to such behaviour when it occurs.

The Royal Commission was told that people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds face several difficulties accessing vital mainstream services including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

According to the responses, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with a disability have trouble accessing:

  • Legal services, including courts and police
  • Health services, including hospitals and GPs
  • Education
  • Employment services, and
  • Migration services

Respondents have told the Royal Commission that culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability have problems engaging with these services due to negative attitudes and discrimination, a lack of awareness of services, a lack of trust in services or a lack of access to information.

The Royal Commission heard that there is a lack of culturally safe and appropriate services and supports available.

For example, culturally and linguistically diverse people with a disability may not be able to choose the type of professional interpreter they want (male/female or face-to-face/telephone interpreter). 

Several respondents told the Royal Commission that negative attitudes towards disability within multicultural communities may lead to adverse outcomes including differential treatment, isolation, exclusion, and an increased risk of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Proposals for change

Respondents have proposed a wide range of changes, including:

  • Governments include people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in designing policies that affect them
  • The Australian Government provide resources and funding for more professional accredited interpreters
  • The Australian Government make it easier and fairer for people with disability to get a visa – as people with disability are often refused visas to Australia because of their disability, and
  • Governments resource organisations such as disability advocacy groups for culturally and linguistically diverse people to run programs that prevent and respond to violence and abuse.

The commission welcomes you to share your experience with them:

  • In writing, over the phone, in a video or audio recording by making a submission
  • In a private session with a Commissioner
  • In your preferred language - including Indigenous languages and Auslan. We will provide interpreters and translators.

Royal Commission needs you

Hearing from people with disability, families, support people, organisations and the broader community helps the Royal Commission understand the extent and the impact of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation against people with disability.

This will help us to make recommendations to prevent it from happening again.

Sharing your experiences with us will help the commission to:

  • Understand the extent of the problem
  • Learn more about the contexts in which abuse is more likely to occur
  • Understand the impacts on people with disability, their families, support people and our community
  • Gather information relevant to our investigations and research program.

The Royal Commission cannot decide or resolve individual cases or award compensation.

The Royal Commission acknowledges that coming forward to share your experience is a big step.

The commission wants to make it as easy as possible so it is important you explain about any support you need. Counselling and support is also available to help you.

There are a number of ways you can get involved and stay up-to-date with the work of the Disability Royal Commission.

It publishes a fortnightly eNewsletter Connect, and provides information about its activities via social media channels and media announcements.

The Commission also conducts community forums and meetings where it can hear first-hand from people with a disability and their families, friends and supporters about their experiences and views.

These provide valuable information and guide the Royal Commission’s investigative and policy work.

Subscribe to the mailing list to receive updates from the Royal Commission.


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