Skip to main content

Public hearing 13: Preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in disability services (a case study)

The Royal Commission held Public hearing 13 in Sydney from 24 to 28 May 2021. An additional day was held on 10 September 2021.

This hearing was the first of several Royal Commission hearings examining how disability service providers prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. In the course of this examination, the Royal Commission will also inquire into how the current systems of funding and oversight of disability services protect people with disability from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Public hearing 13 focused on a case study about the recent experiences of people with disability residing in a house in western Sydney, NSW, operated by a non-government disability service provider, Sunnyfield Disability Services. It was anticipated that evidence would be presented relating to this case study that highlighted broader systemic issues to be examined in subsequent public hearings.

This hearing examined:

  • the experiences of three people with disability residing at the house over approximately four years, including:

    • how their NDIS-funded services and supports were provided

    • how their agreements for accommodation and support services from Sunnyfield operated

    • how Sunnyfield communicated with and provided information to their families

    • how Sunnyfield responded when incidents occurred or complaints were made

  • Sunnyfield’s policies, systems and operations

  • the external oversight of disability services, from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and others, to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and to respond when complaints or allegations are made

  • any related matters.