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Public hearing 33: Violence, abuse, neglect and deprivation of human rights (a case study)

The Royal Commission held its thirty-third and final substantive public hearing in Brisbane from 8 to 10 May 2023 at Level 5, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane.

Public hearing 33 drew together a number of themes examined in the Royal Commission’s work-to-date. In particular the nature and extent of violence, abuse, and neglect experienced over the life course of people with disability, and the failure of natural safeguards and government departments and agencies to prevent violence, abuse and neglect.

The hearing examined these themes by focusing on a case study of two people living with disability, Kaleb and Jonathon (pseudonyms).

On 27 May 2020, following a call from a family friend, Queensland Ambulance and Queensland police found Kaleb and Jonathon locked in their bedroom, unclothed and malnourished. Their father and carer was deceased in the next room.

Public hearing 33 explored why Kaleb and Jonathon experienced violence, abuse, neglect and the deprivation of the human rights in their lives. It examined:

  • the nature and extent of the violence, abuse, neglect and the deprivation of their human rights they experienced whilst in their father’s care
  • whether Queensland departments and agencies that engaged with the family, could or should have acted to prevent the violence, abuse, neglect or deprivation of Kaleb and Jonathon’s human rights
  • whether the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) could or should have acted to facilitate access to National Disability Insurance Scheme funding and the delivery of disability supports to Kaleb and Jonathon to mitigate against risks of them experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and a deprivation of their human rights
  • the investigations and reviews Queensland government departments and agencies, and the NDIA, did or did not do, to identify failings to prevent the nature and extent of the violence, abuse and neglect experienced by Kaleb and Jonathon, and the measures needed to avoid like-situations in the future
  • the practices and policies of Queensland government departments and agencies to include a human rights approach to promote access and deliver services to young people with disability and their families, and in decision-making concerning young people with disability.

Anyone who believes they have a direct and substantial interest in the subject matter of this hearing, as outlined in Practice Guideline 6, is able to make an application for leave to appear by 4 pm Friday, 5 May 2023