Observations – Advocates Workshop

At the first Commission workshop, Commissioner Galbally welcomed a key group of leaders with disabilities and family advocates from around Australia, acknowledging that the Disability Royal Commission was their proud achievement as a result of many decades of advocacy.

The group reiterated the fundamental right of people with disabilities to be able to live self-determined lives, fully participating in every aspect of life and in every sector in the Australian community and to be able to do so free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Participants made it clear that people with disabilities should be able to take the ordinary risks that all people take at different stages of life to live a good life out in the community. They further clarified that fundamental to the Commission's deliberations is the understanding that freedom from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation should not require the lives of people with disabilities to be restricted and curtailed. 

The group strongly acknowledged the relationship between discrimination, racism, poverty, gender, trauma and other issues that interact in a person's life, intensifying vulnerability to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Participants considered a framework that would analyse the settings, practices, policies and systems contributing to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation across a range of areas covering all aspects of life from housing, recreation, school and work as well as health, justice and education.

Participants emphasised the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities from rural and remote communities, people from diverse backgrounds, including gender, culture, language and communication can  access and be included in public meetings, private hearings, private sessions and public hearings  and to be enabled to participate fully in safely telling their stories, experiences and recommendations.