Public hearing video
Public hearings are an important part of the work of the Disability Royal Commission. They are formal, public meetings where people give evidence about events and issues. Hearings help us understand the experiences of people with disability and how they have been affected by violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. This video explains how public hearings work, who is involved and what to expect if you are a witness at a public hearing.
The Disability Royal Commission is looking into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.
We are holding public hearings. Public Hearings are formal, public meetings where people give evidence about events and issues.
Public hearings help the Royal Commission understand the experiences of people with disability and how they have been affected by violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation.
All public hearings are recorded and streamed live on the Royal Commission website.
People who give evidence at a hearing are called witnesses.
If you’ve been asked to be a witness, you will be asked to provide a witness statement.
This is a document that you prepare with the help of a lawyer. It sets out the evidence you will give.
The Royal Commission will invite some witnesses to also give evidence in person or via video.
If the Royal Commission invites you to give evidence, you can choose whether or not to do so. People with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation usually do not have to give evidence if they don’t want to.
We also have the power to summons witnesses that we want to hear evidence from. A person who receives a summons has to take part in the hearing.
We can help you to give evidence in the way that best suits you. For example, we can provide transport, interpreters and communication support.
When it’s your turn to give evidence, you’ll be asked to make an oath or affirmation. These are important promises to tell the truth. As you give evidence, lawyers and Commissioners will ask you questions about your evidence.
Public hearings will include:
- the Commissioners
- Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission and other lawyers
- witnesses, who may give evidence via video
- screens to display documents
- Royal Commission staff including counsellors.
If you do not want your evidence made public the Royal Commission may decide that the information cannot be published. This is called a non-publication direction.
A non-publication direction means the media cannot publish what you tell us at the public hearing.
If you are asked to be a witness for the Royal Commission, you can choose to have your own lawyer to advise you. They may also attend the hearing.
Your Story Disability Legal support is a free national legal service that provides legal advice and information to people interacting with the Disability Royal Commission.
The contact details for this service are on our website.
Financial assistance may also be available.
There are many organisations that can assist with your communication needs, or advocate on your behalf. Their details are on our website.
The Royal Commission has a counselling team who support witnesses before and after public hearings.
To find out more about the Royal Commission call us on 1800 517 199 or visit our website at disability.royalcommission.gov.au. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. A more inclusive, just society.