The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (the Disability Royal Commission) has released a schedule of events for 2020 and a Progress Report explaining the work undertaken since it was formally established in April 2019.
It is good to see a plan for the next 6 months. This schedule means people with disability and our organisations will be able to better plan our engagement with the Royal Commission.
The Progress Report is also welcome and provides a useful insight into how the Disability Royal Commission is operating. We are particularly pleased the Royal Commission has confirmed that private sessions will be available from early 2020 – these are vital to enable people to tell their stories safely. We still need greater clarity on whether confidential submissions will remain confidential when the Disability Royal Commission concludes in 3 years’ time. We hope Parliament makes a decision about this as soon as possible, as many people are waiting to make submissions once ongoing confidentiality is assured.
We note for completeness that the Progress Report does not cover independent supports that are funded by the Federal Government but not run by the Disability Royal Commission itself, and which are needed to enable people with disability to have our voices heard in the Disability Royal Commission. These include:
- Access to legal advice
- Access to counselling
- Access to individual advocacy
These wrap-around supports have been slow to roll out and we are pleased that they have been progressively coming online through November and December this year. We also believe that additional funds will be needed for systemic advocacy as the Disability Royal Commission unfolds, and we are still looking closely at whether sufficient resources have been allocated for important outreach work.
You can read the Royal Commission’s media release about the Progress Report and schedule on their website.