About the Royal Commission
What is a Royal Commission?
A Royal Commission is an investigation, independent of government, into a matter of great importance.
Royal Commissions have broad powers to hold public hearings, call witnesses under oath and compel evidence.
Royal Commissions make recommendations to government about what should change.
Each Royal Commission has terms of reference, which define the issues it will look into.
The Disability Royal Commission was established in April 2019 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 Disability Royal Commission will investigate and report on experiences and conditions in all settings and contexts, including:
- jails and detention centres
- secure disability and mental health facilities
- group homes or boarding houses
- family homes
- day programs
The Disability Royal Commission gathers information through research, public hearings, the personal experiences people tell us about and submissions, private sessions, and other forums.
We will deliver a final report to the Australian Government by 29 April 2022. In this report, the Royal Commission will recommend how to improve laws, policies, structures and practices to ensure a more inclusive and just society.
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About the Disability Royal Commission (Auslan)
Letter Patent and Terms of Reference
On 5 April 2018, the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, and Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, announced the establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
In Australia, royal commissions are the highest form of inquiry on matters of public importance.
Recent inquiries and reports have shown that people with disability are more likely to experience violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation than people without disability.
What we learn from a Royal Commission will help to inform Australian governments, institutions and the wider community on how to prevent, and better protect people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in the future.
What did people say about the draft Terms of Reference?
The Australian Government ran a public consultation on the draft Terms of Reference for a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability from 13 to 28 March 2019.
The Government also consulted with disability peak bodies, advocates and with state and territory governments.
The Government received over 3,700 responses to the online survey on the draft Terms of Reference.
Thirty per cent of respondents were people with disability.
The Terms of Reference for a Royal Commission define the scope of the Royal Commission’s inquiry.
Ninety six per cent (96%) of respondents agreed the Terms of Reference should cover all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, in all settings where they occur.
Ninety five per cent (95%) of people agreed the Terms of Reference Commission should look at all aspects of the quality and safety of services for people with disability.
A full report on the consultation will be released in the coming weeks.
What changes were made to the draft Terms of Reference?
A number of key changes were made to the Terms of Reference following the public consultation including:
- ensuring people with disability are firmly at the centre of decision-making
- recognising the importance of people with disability sharing their stories
- acknowledging the multiple and diverse needs of people with disability including Aboriginal and Torres Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability
- focusing on themes from individual experiences to identify systemic and reoccurring issues.
The themes and information provided through the consultation process will also be provided to the Royal Commission to inform the establishment of the inquiry.
A panel of six Royal Commissioners has been appointed to preside over the commission of Royal Commission’s inquiry.
The Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC is the Chair of the Royal Commission supported by five other Commissioners:
- Ms Barbara Bennett PSM
- Dr Rhonda Louise Galbally AC
- Ms Andrea Jane Mason OAM
- Mr Alastair James McEwin
- The Hon John Francis Ryan AM
How much will the Royal Commission Cost?
The Government committed $527.9 million over five years for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability in the 2019-20 Federal Budget.
This includes funding to provide support for people to participate in the Royal Commission.
This funding includes the cost to establish and wrap-up the Royal Commission after hearings are finished and anticipates the Royal Commission will run for three years.
How will people with disability be supported?
The Australian Government sought feedback through the public consultation process on how to best support people with disability, their families, carers and advocates to participate in the Royal Commission.
The Government will also provide individual advocacy supports and counselling support services for people engaging with the Royal Commission.
What are the next steps?
It takes time to establish a Royal Commission.
The newly appointed Commissioners will decide on the next steps including when to hold hearings and how people can participate.
The Royal Commission will establish its own website and phone number in the coming weeks.
To keep updated, visit the following websites.
You can also contact the temporary hotline number on 1800 880 052 Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm AEST.
If you are currently experiencing any form of violence or abuse or are concerned for your safety, call 000 or contact Police.