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Public hearing 14: Preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in disability services (South Australia)

The Royal Commission held a public hearing in Adelaide from 7 to 11 June 2021. An additional day was held on 30 September 2021.

The hearing was the second 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 what changes have been made by the South Australian and Commonwealth governments over the past year to safeguard vulnerable people with disability from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Public hearing 14 focused on the recent experiences of people with disability in receipt of disability accommodation services operated by the South Australian Department of Human Services (Department). It was anticipated that evidence would be presented relating to two case studies highlighting broader systemic issues to be examined in subsequent public hearings. It was also anticipated that evidence would be presented on the response of the Department, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) to recommendations made by the South Australian Safeguarding Task Force in its report dated 31 July 2020, and the Honourable Alan Robertson SC in his report titled ‘Independent review of the adequacy of the regulation of supports and services provided to Ann-Marie Smith, an NDIS participant, who died on 6 April 2020’.

The hearing examined:

  1. the experiences of two people with disability in receipt of disability accommodation services provided by the Department over approximately 5 years, including:
    1. how the Department responded when incidents occurred or complaints were made
    2. how the Department communicated with and provided information to their families
    3. the process of transitioning to different accommodation
  2. the Department’s policies, systems and operations
  3. the responses of the South Australian and Commonwealth governments to the implementation of recommendations made in the past reports and inquiries identified above, and
  4. any related matters.

Useful information for attending the hearing in person