In April 2019, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability was announced.

On 16 September, three Blind Citizens Australia staff attended a community forum in Brisbane to provide information about the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disabilities. The commissioners and QC Ronald Sackville (chair of the commission), introduced themselves and gave presentations outlining the terms of reference for the commission, accessibility measures to assist people with disabilities to make submissions, and the scope of inquiry.

The video of the forum can be found at: https://webstreaming.lawinorder.com.au/drc

How BCA can support you

Over the next few months we will provide details of how you can be supported by BCA to make a submission to the Royal Commission, and about the topics being explored. In the meantime, we are available to have preliminary conversations about preparing submissions. This will enable you to consider your own experiences and relate them to areas being examined by the commission, and whether you would like to make a submission.

All inquiries and any personal information provided which informs a submission will be held in the strictest confidence. Our Advocacy Projects Officer, Rikki Chaplin, will be coordinating assistance for people wishing to lodge submissions. He has a strong background in social work and counselling, and will assist people who experience any distress as a result of making a submission to locate ongoing support if needed. The commission will be accepting submissions until at least 2022. We are able to assist people to make a submission until that time, or when the call for submissions is closed. We encourage people who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation at any time in their lives as a result of your disability to contact us and discuss how we can support you if you are thinking about making a submission.

BCA’s Submission

Towards the end of the period in which submissions can be lodged, BCA will make a broader submission which will address any key themes that emerge as individual submissions are compiled. Please note that any information which is used for the broader submission will be de-identified so as to preserve confidentiality. A consultation which will allow people to contribute their thoughts and experiences to this broader submission will be held shortly before the submission on behalf of BCA is written and lodged. We will provide further information as we begin to prepare for this submission.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play our part in ensuring that such violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation never occurs again, and to contribute to recommendations which strive to improve access and inclusion in the community.

Resources

For further information and to subscribe to the mailing list to receive updates to community consultations and hearings, please visit: https://www.disability.royalcommission.gov.au

Royal commission stories will feature on the ABC News broadcast platforms, but you can find a comprehensive record of their digital coverage here:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/story-streams/disability-royal-commission/

Emma Bennison, BCA’s CEO, shared her own experience of making a submission to the disability royal commission. Read her Probono Australia article and listen to her interview on Radio National Breakfast.