Australia: A new Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

On 5 April 2019 the Australian Prime Minister announced the establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The Commission has been established as there is significant body of evidence that people with disability are more likely to experience violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation than people without disability. For those of us working in this area of the law there is little doubt that this is indeed the case.

It is hoped that through the work of the Royal Commission that the Australian governments, institutions and the wider community can learn how to prevent, and better protect, people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in the future.

The Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference cover what should be done to:

  • prevent and better protect people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • achieve best practice in reporting and investigating of, and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • promote a more inclusive society that supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The inquiry will cover all forms of violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability, in all settings and contexts.

Six Royal Commissioners have been appointed to preside over the Royal Commission’s inquiry.

The Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC is the Chair of the Royal Commission supported by five other Commissioners:

  • Ms Barbara Bennett PSM
  • Dr Rhonda Galbally AC
  • Ms Andrea Mason OAM
  • Mr Alastair McEwin
  • The Hon John Ryan AM.

The Australian Government has committed AUS$527.9 million over five years to cover the work of the Royal Commission and this includes funding to provide support for people to participate in the Royal Commission.

The Government will also provide individual advocacy support and counselling support services for people engaging with the Royal Commission.

It is anticipated that the Royal Commission will run for three years.

The work of the Royal Commission will no doubt involve a detailed and critical focus on all those organisations working with people with disabilities and the wider disability sector and for those readers of the Blog who may be a provider of services in this area, it may well be prudent to take a more detailed look at the work that the Royal Commission hopes to undertake which can be done by clicking on this link.


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Sharon Moohan, Partner, BLM
sharon.moohan@blmlaw.com

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