LegalNovember 04, 2020

Disability Royal Commission Interim Report — details violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation

People with disability are experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation across all aspects of their lives, including in education, healthcare and justice settings, and in their homes, workplaces and communities, the Disability Royal Commission’s Interim Report says.

The Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability was presented to Governor-General David Hurley, AC DSC (Rtd), and a copy of the Interim Report has been tabled in Federal Parliament.

The Interim Report says that people with disability experience attitudinal, environmental, institutional and communication barriers in achieving inclusion within the Australian society. It shows that a great deal needs to be done to ensure that the human rights of people with disability are respected and that Australia becomes a truly inclusive society.

To this end, Chair Ronald Sackville, AO QC, is expected to request a 17-month extension of time to present the Royal Commission’s final report to 29 September 2023.

The interim report sets out what the Royal Commission has done in its first 15 months, the cut-off point being 31 July 2020. That date was too soon for the Royal Commission to make firm recommendations on the issues discussed in the report. They will come later. However, a report containing findings and recommendations arising out of the Commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be published in November 2020.

The interim report records the high rates of violence towards people with disability. The most recent data from 2016 show that almost 2.4 million people with disability aged 18–64 years (almost two in three) had experienced violence in their lifetime. In a 12-month period, people with disability are twice as likely as people without disability to experience violence.

The Royal Commission has held seven public hearings and published nine issues papers and six research reports since it was established in April 2019.

“The summary of the Interim Report begins with a quote: ‘What is happening to people (with disability) is not okay and the stories need to be told’,” Mr Sackville said.

Source: Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, “Interim Report”, [release], 30 October 2020, accessed 30 October 2020.

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