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Disability Royal Commission releases third progress report

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has released its Third Progress Report, covering the period from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020.

The Royal Commission is required to examine all forms of violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability in all settings and contexts. The Progress Report points out that the terms of reference for the Royal Commission are far broader than almost any other Royal Commission established in recent decades.

The Report records that despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Commission conducted six important public hearings during the six months period using remote technology. 

The Royal Commission also published:

  • Commissioners’ reports on Public Hearings 2 (Inclusive education in Queensland), 3 (Group homes for people with disability) and 4 (Health care for people with cognitive disability).
  • The Royal Commission’s report on Public Hearing 5 (Experiences of people with disability during the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic), including 22 recommendations. This report was presented to the Governor-General and tabled in the Australian parliament.
  • Two research reports.
  • Three Issues papers on safeguards and quality, violence and abuse of people with disability at home and promoting inclusion of people with disability.

The Royal Commission has continued its program of community engagement with the benefit of remote technology.  The Engagement Branch has worked closely with disability advocacy groups and organisations, people with disability, First Nations communities and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities.  Technology has also been used to enable people with disability and their supporters to participate in numerous confidential private sessions with Commissioners.

The Progress Report welcomes the Australian Government’s decision to introduce legislation in the Autumn Session of Parliament amending the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) to afford confidentiality indefinitely to people engaging with the Royal Commission.  The legislation, when passed, will encourage more people with disability to come forward with their stories which “are at the heart of our inquiry”.

The Progress Report notes that the Chair of the Royal Commission wrote to the Prime Minister on 30 October 2020 requesting a seventeen-month extension to the Royal Commission. If the request is granted, the Final Report and recommendations will be due by 29 September 2023.

Visit our schedule to review the Royal Commission’s public hearings that have been planned for 2021.