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A brief guide to the Final Report - Brochure

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A brief guide to the Final Report (Auslan)

A brief guide to the Final Report (Auslan)

We have made a guide to the Disability Royal Commission’s Final Report.

This video highlights some of the key information in this guide.

About the Royal Commission

The Royal Commission ran from 4 April 2019 until 28 September 2023, when the Final Report was delivered to the Governor-General.

We were required to inquire into what governments, institutions, and the community should do to prevent and protect people with disability from experiencing all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation across all settings.

We were also required to look in particular at the experiences of people with disability from specific groups.  This includes First Nations people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Our inquiry had a strong focus on the human rights of people with disability.

People with disability have been at the heart of this Royal Commission. Their voices and experiences have guided all aspects of our work.

About the Final Report

Our Final Report brings together what we learned during our inquiry. It sets out our conclusions and recommendations. It also sets out a vision for a more inclusive society that supports the independence of people with disability.

It has 12 volumes plus an introductory volume.

What we heard in our inquiry

The violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation experienced by people with disability

People with disability experience much higher rates of violence than people without disability. These rates of violence are particularly high for:

  • women with psychological or intellectual disability

  • First Nations women with disability

  • young women with disability.

The neglect of people with disability can occur in different forms and across different stages of people’s lives. We heard distressing accounts of people experiencing severe deprivation and of people with disability dying as a result of gross neglect.

We were told of failures to provide people with environments where they could thrive and reach their potential. This included people having limited opportunities to develop personal relationships, actively participate in the community or build life skills.

We heard people with disability can be denied their right and freedom to make decisions, control their life and exercise choice. People with disability described facing barriers to information, and services such as health care, education, employment and housing.

Our vision for an inclusive Australia

People with disability, their families and a range of other people shared their dreams and aspirations for an inclusive Australia. While these visions varied, they rested on a common foundation.

In particular, a future where:

Our recommendations for change

Our Final Report makes 222 recommendations about what changes are needed to ensure we live in a more inclusive society that supports the right for people with disability to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Most of our recommendations are directed to the Australian Government.  Recommendations cover a wide range of areas. The following are just some of them.

Realising the rights of human rights of people with disability

Our inquiry concluded people with disability are not adequately protected against violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

We recommend an Australian Disability Rights Act be introduced to strengthen protection of the rights of people with disability. Existing legislation should also be amended.

Enabling autonomy and access for people with disability

Reforms to laws, policies and practices are needed to ensure people with disability can make their own decisions, with support as required. We propose reforms to promote supported decision-making and reduce restrictive practices.

People with disability can face barriers to accessing and interacting with information and services. We propose reforms to address these barriers, including increased access to skilled interpreters.

We also consider how to improve access to quality health care for people with disability, particularly people with cognitive disability.

Achieving inclusive education, employment and housing 

People with disability face many barriers to accessing quality education, employment and housing. We concluded that mainstream systems must be significantly reformed to remove these barriers to access.

Education, employment and housing also have settings and services that are only for people with disability. Commissioners have different views about whether these disability-specific settings and services should be phased out over time.

People with disability and the criminal justice system

People with disability are significantly over-represented at all stages of the criminal justice system. We make recommendations for reforms to address the adverse experiences and outcomes for people with disability when they interact with the justice system.

For people with disability who are victims of crimes, we recommend changes to improve how police respond. Laws and policy relating to family and domestic violence need to specifically acknowledge people with disability.

Improving the experiences of First Nations people with disability

First Nations people with disability are uniquely marginalised in Australia and have specific challenges. First Nations people with disability identified a lack of culturally safe disability services and supports across almost every system.

There are also barriers to accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in remote areas of Australia. Significant change is required to remove these barriers.

Disability services

We heard harrowing evidence about violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation occurring in disability services, particularly in supported accommodation.

Self-advocacy skills and access to independent advocacy are essential to ensure people with disability have day to day choice and control over the services they receive. It also allows them to raise concerns.

Disability service providers need transparent policies and procedures to detect and respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Rigorous screening and recruitment processes for disability support workers, along with effective training and supervision are required.

Improving independent oversight and complaint mechanisms

Existing complaints systems can be too complex without appropriate assistance and support.  We concluded additional independent oversight mechanisms and pathways to make complaints are needed.

All states and territories should have adult safeguarding laws, community visitors schemes, and an independent one-stop shop for reporting complaints, referrals and support.

Strengthening governance and measuring change

Wide-ranging changes to disability policy and major reforms across systems, settings and practices are needed in Australia. This will require strong national disability leadership, governance and accountability, with robust monitoring and reporting on outcomes for people with disability.

We recommend a new Australian Government portfolio specifically responsible for disability, a Minister for Disability Inclusion and a specific department for disability equality and inclusion.

Beyond the Royal Commission – implementing our recommendations and monitoring progress

We have asked the Australian Government and state and territory governments to publish written responses to our Final Report by 31 March 2024.

In their responses, governments should tell the community which of the recommendations they plan to act on, which they do not and why, and which need more consideration. 

Implementing our recommendations will take time, collaboration and coordination across governments, public and private sectors and the whole community. People with disability need to be at the heart of this work.

We have also made recommendations for the need for regular reporting by governments on the progress of implementing the reforms and for independent assessment of how well the recommendations have worked over the next 10 years.

More information

To access the full guide, and for more information on our Final Report, visit our website. Go to the ‘Publications’ section and click on ‘Final Report’.