1. What is a Royal Commission?
A Royal Commission is a national inquiry set up under the Royal Commissions Act 1901 (Cth). Royal Commissions have broad legal powers to investigate matters of concern. The Royal Commission can take evidence from people who must tell the truth. They can require documents to be provided to them and require people to speak to them.
At the end of a Royal Commission, a written report is given to the Government. This report includes what has happened, and makes recommendations on what needs to happen in the future.
2. What is violence and abuse, neglect, and exploitation?
Violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation are important terms for the Disability Royal Commission. In the context of the Royal Commission, these terms have certain meanings.
Violence and abuse
Violence and abuse cover a range of behaviours towards people with a disability. These could include assault, sexual assault, constraints, restrictive practices (physical and chemical), forced treatments, forced interventions, humiliation and harassment, financial and economic abuse, and significant violations of privacy and dignity on a systemic or individual basis.
Neglect includes physical or emotional neglect, passive neglect or wilful deprivation. Neglect can be a single significant incident or a systemic issue that involves depriving a person with disability of the basic necessities of life such as food, drink, shelter, access, mobility, clothing, education, medical care, and treatment.
Exploitation is when a person takes advantage of someone else. This could include improper use of another person or the improper use of or withholding of another person’s assets, labour, employment, or resources including taking physical, sexual, financial, or economic advantage.
3. I have experienced violence, abuse, neglect, or exploitation, do I have to share my story?
No. It is not compulsory to share your story with the Disability Royal Commission. It is your story and your choice if you tell it.
4. If I do share my story, will the person who hurt me get in trouble?
No. The Disability Royal Commission does not have powers to charge someone with a criminal offence or to start legal action against them. If your story causes concern that a criminal offence may have occurred, the Disability Royal Commission staff may speak to you about next steps or calling the police.
5. Someone is telling me I must tell my story to the Disability Royal Commission, is that true?
No. You do not have to tell your story unless you want to.
6. I want the Disability Royal Commission to intervene and make the person stop what they are doing. Is this possible?
No. The Disability Royal Commission is unable to assist you with an individual issue or to stop someone from treating you badly. If you need help to stop someone from treating you badly, contact the Police on 000 if it is an emergency, or contact your local disability advocate for support to get out of that situation. You can find your nearest advocate using the Disability Advocate Finder Tool.
7. Does it cost money to be involved?
No, it is free to share your story and access the support services, including counselling or legal help when doing so.
8. I have not experienced violence, abuse, neglect, or exploitation myself but I worked with someone who was being abused. Should I make a submission?
Yes, you can share your story of the violence, abuse, neglect, or exploitation of people with disabilities from any perspective. However, you should make the submission from your perspective, not on behalf of the person with a disability. The only time you should make a submissions for someone is if you have their permission to do so.