Human Rights Disability Royal Commission

Disability Royal Commission

DRC Advocacy

This service is now closed

All engagement with the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) ended on 31 December 2022. The final report from the DRC is due on 29 September 2023.


Our DRC Advocacy provided individual advocacy for vulnerable people who wanted to make a submission to the DRC from late 2019 to December 2022.

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 April 2019 and was due to end in April 2022. A 17-month extension was granted by the Federal Government in May 2021 taking the end date for submissions to 31 December 2022. The Final Report is now due on 29 September 2023.


People could make submissions regarding any of the following settings:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Employment
  • Justice
  • Disability services
  • Accommodation
  • Family

These settings often formed 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.

Engagement options

All engagement and submissions to the DRC have now closed.

Case studies

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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