Advice and advocacy > Non-legal advocacy
Disability Royal Commission
Disability Royal Commission Advocacy Program
The Disability Royal Commission (DRC) Advocacy Program provides individual non-legal advocacy for vulnerable people wishing to make a submission to the DRC.
What is a Royal Commission?
A Royal Commission is an investigation, independent of government, into a matter of great importance.
Royal Commissions have broad powers to hold public hearings, call witnesses under oath and compel evidence.
Royal Commissions make recommendations to government about what should change.
Each Royal Commission has terms of reference, which define the issues it will look into.
– Information taken form the Disability Royal Commission website.
The Disability Royal Commission
The DRC has a broad mandate which covers violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The DRC was established in 2019 with the final report currently due by 29 April 2022. However, a 17-month extension was requested in October 2020 and is still awaiting Government approval. If the Government grants this extension the DRC will be extended to September 2023.
People can make submissions regarding any of the following settings:
- Disability services
These settings often form the focus of the DRC Public Hearings.
Focus and aims
The DRC focuses on and aims to:
- Prevent and better protect people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
- Develop more effective practices in reporting, investigating, and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
- Promote a more inclusive society that supports people with disability to be independent and live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
What it cannot do
The DRC cannot:
- Decide or resolve individual cases
- Award compensation
- Force or order a person or organisation to take particular action
- Arrange legal advice on a particular matter, such as enforceability of contract for service agreements.
Making a submission to the DRC can be done in a number of ways. Each forum has its own rules and level of privacy, though there is also currently a call for the Government to extent the privacy conditions for submissions made beyond the life of the DRC.
Submissions to the DRC can be made in the following ways:
- Community forums
- Public submissions
- Public hearings
- Private sessions
What does the DRC Advocacy Program do?
The DRC Advocacy Program has been running since late 2019 and has already helped many clients to have their voices heard at the Commission.
Our advocate can:
- Advise you on the DRC engagement and processes
- Assist with the preparation of DRC submissions
- Help with the preparation for Private Sessions and Public Hearings
- Supports and represents clients attending and appearing before Private Sessions, Public Hearings and Community Forums
- Facilitate legal advice, counselling, communication and other supports and services for those engaged with the DRC.
Who does the DRC Advocacy Program assist?
The DRC Advocacy Program prioritises assisting the most vulnerable people with disability to have their voices heard at the commission, as the most vulnerable have many of the stories the Commission needs to hear, and often have the most difficulty with making a submission.
Our advocate can assist:
- Vulnerable people with disability
- Family members acting on behalf of a vulnerable person with disability
- Carers acting on behalf of a vulnerable person with disability.
How do I get help?
You will be required to provide QAI with certain personal details which are necessary for the DRC Advocacy Program to deliver its services. All personal information is treated as strictly confidential.
Neglect in the Mental Health System after Childhood Abuse – Private Session
We assisted a young lady who resides in a remote area and has experienced ongoing sexual, physical, and psychological abuse since the age of fifteen. As a result of this trauma, the client experiences severe psychosocial disability and has been in the mental health system for over seventeen years. Over such time, the client has been diagnosed with various psychological disorders and has been subjected to a range of therapies and drug treatments which have largely failed. The client wishes to convey her story, with full transparency to the Commission, including naming the names of her abusers, and speaking to episodes of neglect and exploitation at the hands of specific professionals and institutions within the mental health system. Mindful of the sensitive nature of this story and the resultant privacy and confidentiality issues involved, the client readily agreed with the Advocate’s recommendations that a Private Session was the most appropriate setting to share her story with the Commission.
Daughter Died in State Hospital Care – Private Session
We assisted a gentleman whose nine-year-old daughter, with Rett’s Syndrome and drug-resistant refractory seizures, died in state hospital care. The client wishes to share the story with the Commission of his daughter’s mistreatment, neglect and negligence in both health care and justice systems. The client believes that his daughter was not only devalued in life, but also in death, primarily because she was a child with severe disability. The client ideally preferred to make his story public, however as the matter is currently the subject of a coronial appeal, a Private Session was determined the most appropriate forum to convey his story to the Commission.
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