Royal Commission Draft Terms of Reference Released and Open for Comment

QDN welcomes the news that the Australian Government has announced and released a public consultation on the draft Terms of Reference for a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. A link to the Terms of Reference can be found here.

A public survey has been released seeking people’s views on what should be covered in the Terms of Reference. This is a question based survey. QDN encourages members and our supporters to provide feedback, and for members to note that we will be raising with the  Department of Social Services that it is important that there are a variety of ways that people can provide feedback other than a question based survey. A link to the survey can be found here.

QDN believes it is critical that the Royal Commission is appropriately resourced so that people with disability can access the support they need to participate. QDN believes a budget commitment in the upcoming Federal Budget is a crucial part to ensuring adequate specialist services, advocacy and support are available to people with disability with a range of needs.  This commitment needs to have particular focus on communication and also to engagement with people with disability, to ensure they can participate. It is critical that people with disability are central to the implementation of the Terms of Reference.

QDN also sees it is vital that a Federal budget commitment includes resources to support people with disability to give evidence at the Royal Commission, particularly people with disability who experience additional disadvantage and challenges in participating in formal processes like a Royal Commission. This may include;

  • People with disability from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds
  • People with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • People with cognitive and learning disability
  • Women with disability
  • Children and young people with disability
  • People form the LGBTIQA+ community
  • People who experience additional disadvantage and marginalisation, including people who are homeless, people living in supported accommodation and caravan parks, people in prisons, people living in hospitals and aged care facilities and people experiencing domestic or family violence.

Given the complexity in people’s lives and their individual personal experiences with a range of mainstream systems and Government services, QDN believes that consideration needs to be given to targeted engagement approaches to the different groups of people listed above.  This will enable them to hear about the commission, how they can participate and how they can be supported to do so.

QDN is aware that people with disability, particularly those living in a group environment or congregate care are at higher risk of being abused. Our community and our Governments have a responsibility to understand the experiences of people with disability and to provide adequate responses that ensure the safety of all people.

People with disability have a right to be safe and live a life free from abuse, violence and neglect, especially when this is perpetrated by the people who have responsibility and a duty of care to support these individuals.

Further information on the Royal Commission