Royal Commission

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

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of People with Disabilities (Disability Royal Commission) is a national inquiry examining the lived experience of violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of all people with disabilities in Australia. Through this inquiry, the Disability Royal Commission will look into:

  • preventing and better-protecting people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation
  • achieving best practice in reporting, investigating and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability
  • promoting a more inclusive society that supports people with disability to be independent and live free from violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The Disability Royal Commission started in April 2019 and will provide a report to the Australian Government in April 2022.  The Disability Royal Commission will conduct its inquiry in accordance with the Terms of Reference.

AFDO Expert Advisor on the Disability Royal Commission

Natalie Wade looking at the camera.AFDO has 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.

Share your story

It is important that the Disability Royal Commission hear from people with disabilities.  You can share your experience of violence, neglect, abuse, or exploitation with the Disability Royal Commission in the following ways:

  • in writing, over the phone, in a video or audio recording by making a submission
  • in a private session with a Commissioner
  • in your preferred language – including Indigenous languages and Auslan.  The Commission will provide interpreters and translators.

By hearing the stories and experiences of people with disabilities, the Disability Royal Commission will be able to examine the issues faced by people with disabilities.  The Disability Royal Commission will make recommendations to the Government on how to stop it happening again and how to ensure people with disabilities live safe and valued lives.

AFDO has developed this Toolkit  on submissions and community forums:

For more information on Sharing Your Story, visit the Disability Royal Commission website.

We realise that coming forward to share your story is a big step. Please tell the Royal Commission about any support you need, as counselling and support is available to help you.

Other ways to contribute to the Disability Royal Commission

Issues Papers

The Disability Royal Commission will put out Issues Papers on different topics that they want to hear more about.  You can write a response to an Issues Paper if you have a lived experience of the issue, or if you are a researcher or an organisation in that issue space, or if you have knowledge to contribute on the topic.

Your response to an Issues Paper can be as long or short as you wish.  There will be questions in the Issues Paper to guide your response if you need it.  You can find the different Disability Royal Commission Issues Papers here.

Community Forums

Community Forums are held around Australia and focus on specific issues facing the disability community such as education, the health system, or justice.  When a community forum is announced, the Disability Royal Commission will say what it is about.

People with disabilities or interested people can attend a forum and share their experience or knowledge.  While you are able to share your story at community forums, please be aware that it is a public space and what you say will not be secret from other people in the room.  If you would prefer to share your story privately, you can request a private hearing with a Commissioner.

You can find out more on community forums, including when they will be held on the Disability Royal Commission Community Forums page.