Ceremonial Closing of the Royal Commission
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has come to an end. The Ceremonial Closing of the Royal Commission was held on Friday 15 September 2023 in Sydney. The final ceremony was attended by all DRC Commissioners, including:
- The Hon Ronald Sackville AO KC (Chair)
- Ms Barbara Bennett PSM
- Dr Rhonda Galbally AC
- Ms Andrea Mason OAM
- Dr Alastair McEwin AM,
- and the Hon John Ryan AM.
AFDO staff members and other leaders from across the disability sector were also in attendance.
The Final Report
The Royal Commission provided its final report to the Governor-General of Australia on 28 September 2023. The report is now available to the Australian public. It is spread across 12 volumes and includes 222 recommendations. These recommendations are aimed at improving laws, policies, systems and processes to ensure a society that properly supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. There is also an introductory volume which includes:
- The Chair’s foreword
- The Royal Commission’s vision for an inclusive Australia
- An executive summary, and
- A full list of recommendations included across the other 12 volumes of the report.
The Royal Commission has published a brief guide to the final report to help people understand how the various volumes of the report are structured. We have included links to volumes 1 – 12 of the report below:
- Voices of people with disability (volume 1)
- About the Royal Commission (volume 2)
- Extent and nature of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation (volume 3)
- Realising the human rights of people with disability (volume 4)
- Governing for inclusion (volume 5)
- Enabling autonomy and access (volume 6)
- Inclusive education, employment and housing (volume 7)
- Criminal justice and people with disability (volume 8)
- First Nations people with disability (volume 9)
- Disability services (volume 10)
- Independent oversight and complaint mechanisms (volume 11)
- Beyond the Royal Commission (volume 12)
AFDO’s involvement in the Royal Commission
The conclusion of the Royal Commission marks the end of a critical moment in time for Australian disability policy. It is the culmination of many ears of blood, sweat and tears on the part of people with disability, their families, supporters, and representative organisations. Since 2019, the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) has:
- Held 32 public hearings.
- Heard evidence from 837 witnesses.
- received almost 8000 submissions.
AFDO and our members have made significant contributions to the work of the Disability Royal Commission via written submissions, multiple roundtables with the Commission, and other advocacy work. Our submissions have covered topics including:
- The Disability Transport Standards (DSAPT)
- Rights and Attitudes
- Promoting Inclusion
- Quality and Safeguards
- Criminal Justice
- Experiences of people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic
- The Disability Support Pension (DSP)
Many of these submissions included case studies and testimonials from people with disability. We recognise that many people with disability may have been retraumatised as a result of sharing their stories throughout the life course of the Royal Commission. If this is you, our thoughts are with you, and we are deeply sorry for the hardship you have had to endure. We thank you for your strength, courage and determination. We are proud to have worked alongside you in this landmark moment in Australian disability advocacy. We understand that the emotional toll may continue to be felt for quite some time though. As such, we remind you that free, independent and confidential counselling support is still available. You can visit the Department of Social Services website to find a suitable counselling service near you.
While the Royal Commission has come to an end, for the team at AFDO the real work is only just starting. We must hold Government and other decision-makers accountable by driving the implementation of key recommendations outlined in the final report. We will undertake this work alongside our members as we work towards a more inclusive society that adequately safeguards people with disability from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
AFDO Expert Advisor on the Disability Royal Commission
AFDO appointed Natalie Wade as AFDO’s Expert Advisor on the Disability Royal Commission. Natalie is the Founder and Principal Lawyer of Equality Lawyers, a law firm which provides everyday legal services to people with disabilities, their families and supporters. Prior to founding Equality Lawyers, Natalie was a solicitor within the South Australian Government. In 2015, Natalie was appointed as a solicitor to the South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission. During her time with the Royal Commission, Natalie worked a range of children protection systems issues including those faced by children with disabilities. In 2016, Natalie was awarded Australian Young Lawyer of the Year for her work on the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission.
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