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First Progress Report

  • Report
Publication date

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (the Royal Commission) has released its First progress report. The First progress report of the Royal Commission was published in December 2019. That report provided an overview of the Royal Commission’s program from its formal establishment in April 2019 until 30 November 2019. The report also outlined the Commission’s proposed program for 2020. The paper is available in Easy Read, PDF and DOCX.

First Progress Report (Auslan)


First Progress Report

The Disability Royal Commission has published its first progress report. It covers our activities from 5 April to 30 November 2019.

This video summarises some of the key points in the report.

Support for people to share their experiences

Advocacy, counselling and legal services are available to people engaging with us.

The Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) are funding 50 services to provide individual advocacy services to people with disability. Most of these services have been available since late November 2019.

DSS also funds Blue Knot to provide telephone counselling. This service started on 17 October 2019.

Legal services that offer legal advice to people wanting to engage with us have been operating since mid-November 2019.

Public hearings

Between 5 April and 30 November 2019 we held three public hearings.

The first was the ceremonial opening of the Royal Commission. It was held in Brisbane on 16 September.

We held a public hearing in Townsville, Queensland from 4 to 7 November. This hearing examined existing laws, policies and practices relating to inclusive education in Queensland state schools. It also looked at barriers to achieving inclusive education in Queensland and heard diverse views on the role of special schools.

We then held a public hearing in Melbourne from 2 to 6 December. The purpose of this hearing was to examine the experiences of people with disability living in group homes, including their experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Visit to Bwgcolman (Palm Island), Queensland

Commissioner Andrea Mason and Commissioner Roslyn Atkinson visited Bwgcolman (Palm Island), Queensland in November. They met with First Nations people and organisations and heard stories of inclusion, support and hope.


In this period we held nine workshops across Australia:

  • 1 advocacy workshop

  • 3 legal workshops

  • 1 service provider workshop

  • 2 First Nations workshops

  • 1 justice workshop

  • 1 education and learning workshop.

At each workshop participants provided feedback on a draft paper outlining our approach to developing areas of focus for our inquiry, such as education, accommodation, justice and health.


We opened for submissions on 29 July 2019. By 10 December, we had received 428 submissions. The majority were made by family members (42 per cent) or by people with disability (33 per cent). One in three submissions focused on homes and living, and a similar number focused on education and learning.

Issues papers

We released three issues papers in this period. They focused on the themes of education and learning, group homes and the health system. Issues papers outline our early understanding of key issues and provide organisations and individuals with the opportunity to respond to these issues.

Community forums

We held six community forums in this period; one in Queensland, three in South Australia and two in Tasmania. The forums gave people the opportunity to share their personal experiences and ideas, including how to better protect, care for and support people with disability. People also heard about our work.

More information

For more information and to read the full report, visit our website.