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Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

In April 2019, the Australian Government started a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. 

The Royal Commission will investigate:

    • Violence – if people with disability have been hurt physically
    • Abuse – if people with disability have been treated badly
    • Neglect – if  people with disability are not being helped in the way they are supposed to be helped
    • Exploitation – if people with disability are being taken advantage of.

The Royal Commission is required to prepare an interim report to present to the Australian Government by 30 October 2020. A final report, including recommended actions for Australian governments to take, is due by 29 April 2022. 

Amaze is working on making a submission to the Commission, shaped by input from autistic people and their families, carers and supporters. Amaze understands how sensitive the subject matter is, and the effort and distress this may cause members of our community.  For that reason we are dedicated to taking a very carefully considered approach to the way we conduct our community consultation. We want to ensure we take the time required to ensure we deliver a submission true to community expectations and experiences.

Amaze will provide regular updates in the new year on how we will do this work through our social media channels, eSpectrum and our website. 

 

What is a Royal Commission?

A Royal Commission is an official way of looking into a complex problem. It helps the government work out what the biggest issues are, and what actions need to be taken to fix the problem.

Royal Commissions are started by the government, but run by Commissioners. These are the senior people who are experts in the problem and work on the Royal Commission, but they are not part of the government.

A Royal Commission is the highest form of public inquiry in Australia, and comes with a wide range of powers to investigate problems.

To decide what a Royal Commission will investigate, there are Terms of Reference. This is a list of things that the Commissioners should examine/scrutinise.

Royal Commissions will then gather evidence through written submissions and presentations at hearings. This evidence is used by the Commissioners to create a final report which will also contains recommendations for action the government can take to fix the problem.

The government then decides if it will adopt the recommendations for action to fix the problem.

(Adapted from the Disability © Commonwealth of Australia 2019.)

 

What is the Disability Royal Commission about?

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will investigate:

    • Violence – if people with disability have been hurt physically
    • Abuse – if people with disability have been treated badly
    • Neglect – if  people with disability are not being helped in the way they are supposed to be helped
    • Exploitation – if people with disability are being taken advantage of.

The Commission asked people with disability, their families and carers what they thought should be included in the Terms of Reference for this Royal Commission.

96% of people agreed that the Royal Commission needs to cover all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

They also agreed that the Royal Commission needs to include all of the places where people with disability may be harmed.

The places might include:

    • in the home
    • in a service
    • in any other place.

95% of people agreed that the Royal Commission needs to look at the quality and safety of all services and supports. 

The Royal Commission will look at ways of making sure people can:

    • report a problem
    • look into a problem
    • take action.

It will look at ways of making our society safer and more inclusive for people with disability.

The Royal Commission will run for three years.

(Adapted from the Disability © Commonwealth of Australia 2019.)

 

What is Amaze doing about the Royal Commission?

Amaze will be making a submission to the Commission, shaped by input from autistic people and their families, carers and supporters.

The scope of this Royal Commission is very broad – it is seeking evidence on an extremely wide range of issues. Additionally, because the subject matter of the Royal Commission is very sensitive, we are taking a very considered approach to our submission and community consultation.

Amaze is working to develop a method of community consultation that allows us to hear from autistic people and their families, carers and supporters and understand their experiences, in a way that is safe and supportive.

When consultation begins, we’ll let the community know through our social media channels, eSpectrum and the Amaze website. 

 

How can I share my experiences with the Royal Commission?

In January 2020 Amaze will be updating the community on how they can share their experiences with the Royal Commission. We will do this through our social media channels, eSpectrum and website.

If you’d like to find out more in the meantime, you can visit the Royal Commission website.

 

Getting legal and emotional support

There are services available for people with a disability and their families and carers who need support when engaging with the Royal Commission. This support is/will be provided by agencies external to the Royal Commission.

 

Counselling and emotional support: Blue Knot Foundation has established a specialist service to provide counselling support and referrals for people with disability, their families and carers, and anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission.
This service is available 9am-6pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5pm on weekends and public holidays, including the Christmas/New Year holiday period.

There are different ways you can contact the service depending on your accessibility requirements: telephone, video conference, webchat and SMS. For more information visit: https://www.blueknot.org.au/Training-Services/Counselling-and-Referral-Service

 

Legal advice: The Disability Royal Commission Legal Service is now open to provide advice, information and referrals to people interested in interacting with the Disability Royal Commission. If you are distressed by anything relating to the Royal Commission, you can get mental health support and emotional assistance by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

 

Legal financial assistance: The legal financial assistance scheme may help individuals and entities to assist with meeting the costs of legal representation and disbursements associated with formal engagement with the Royal Commission.

 

Advocacy: Commonwealth-funded advocacy support services are available under the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP).

 

You can find out more about all of these services on the Royal Commission website.

Support Services

If you or someone you know, has experienced or is experiencing any form of violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation; or you are concerned for your safety, contact your local police station or dial 000 in an emergency. Counselling and support is also available by calling:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Men’s Line 1300 789 978
  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
  • 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732
  • National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline 1800 880 052
  • Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline 1800 019 123
  • Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
  • Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
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