RCDISABILITY
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The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (the Commission) was established in April 2019 in response to community concern about widespread reports of violence against, and the neglect, abuse and exploitation of, people with disability. These incidents might have happened recently or a long time ago.

 

The Commission investigates:

  • How to stop instances of people with disability experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and protecting people from future harm.
  • Achieving more accountability with investigating and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.
  • Moving toward a more inclusive system that supports people with disability from all backgrounds and with varied needs to be independent and live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

There is a rolling schedule of Hearings and events which can be found here.

There is a specific Intake team who are equipped and able to help with inquiries over the phone. You can reach them on 1800 517 199 or +61 7 3734 1900, 9:00am to 6:00pm AEDST Monday to Friday, excluding national public holidays.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Communities Consultation

An online video consultation was held on 10 August 2020. After this event the contributions from attendees were paired with research and case studies and submitted as part of the 'Experience of First Nations Peoples with Disability' response to Issues Paper.

VACCHO's role since the consultation? 

VACCHO has advocated on related matters about the NDIS and funding for ACCOs. We want to ensure that Community voices and expertise are heard throughout this process and reflected in the Commission’s recommendations.

The submission was drafted, reviewed, and submitted in October 2020. A copy of the Submission can be found here.

If you would like to discuss any topics in the Submission or want further information on VACCHO's work relating to the Commission contact Nina Kojovic on 0408 888 273.

What happens after the submission?

Once the Commission has received VACCHO's or an individual’s written, audio or video account, their staff will contact you via email to confirm it was received.

If you share your story with the Royal Commission, it may be made public. If you do not want your story to be shared, please let them know in writing or during a private session. All videos submitted to the Royal Commission will be transcribed and assessed and analysed in the same way as written submissions. Transcriptions are for internal use only.

The Commissioners are encouraging people with disability, their family, friends and the people who support them, to share their experiences in their first language including Aboriginal languages and Auslan. The Commission can provide interpreters and translators.

What's happening in 2021?

The Disability Royal Commission Engagement Team has developed an Engagement Plan for 2021. This will include engaging with Victorian Aboriginal communities, lead by a team of Aboriginal staff.

The Commission Team will be running information sessions about the process of engagement (approx. April 2021). The Team will specifically run information sessions with ACCOs and Aboriginal community groups on what the Commission can offer and how the engagement works. The Commission staff want to facilitate choice for Community members to share their stories in a way best suited to their needs.

If the COVID-19 Normal status continues and we can safely meet face-to-face, the Commission will also host small Community meetings in mid to late 2021. VACCHO will be involved in scheduling these sessions and will advocate for them to be held close to our Members and in accessible locations.

We will continue to update this webpage with more information.

If you would like to have a private session with a Royal Commissioner

The Commission has engaged Aboriginal staff who can speak to you and host a private session. There are also disability advocacy organisations available to assist with issues you have faced with services.

The Commission have also partnered with mental health organisations to provide counselling and support for you and your family if you come forward as a witness or to have a private session. To get counselling support you can call the National Counselling and Referral Service and ask to be connected to a counsellor or advocate. Call 1800 421 468 (9am to 6pm weekdays, and 9am to 5pm weekends and national public holidays). Or you can visit the DSS website for a list of services.

If you are eager to share a story, please contact the Commission here

Looking after ourselves

Whilst the Commission has organised for counselling and other supports for people attending hearings, we strongly encourage you to arrange the same supports for individuals watching should you choose to stream the Commission’s proceedings at home our your local Aboriginal Community controlled health service.

Other supports for story sharing can be found here

Here is a list of services that are offering valuable mental health supports:

  • Your local ACCO may have people such as counsellors, doctors and psychologists available onsite who you also can talk to through phone or video (telehealth), or they may be able to refer you to someone. Community health and other GP services offer similar services.
  • Yarning Safe ‘n’ Strong 1800 95 95 63: A confidential telephone counselling hotline that is run by VAHS and operates 24/7.
  • Dardi Munwurro 24 hour support on 1800 435 799. Dardi Munwurro delivers a range of family violence, healing and behaviour change programs and services.
  • Lifeline Australia 13 11 14: A crisis support service offering short term support for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
  • Beyond Blue 1800 512 348: Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
  • Headspace 1800 650 893: Online and webchat support and counselling for 12-25 year olds and their family and friends.