Media Release: Justice for people with disability at last

16 September 2019
People with disability around Australia are hoping today’s opening of the Disability Royal Commission will be the start of bringing us justice for violence against us.

“Today’s historic opening of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation against People with Disability is the result of decades of work from people with disability, who have not had our voices heard,” said Jeff Smith, CEO, People with Disability Australia.

“The terrible toll that violence and abuse has taken on people with disability will finally be brought to light, as people with disability start to tell their stories to the Commission.”

“The Disability Royal Commission needs to be the start of the significant changes that are needed to stop the violence against us, such as ending segregation and discrimination against us.”

People with Disability Australia will be attending the opening hearing of the Disability Royal Commission in Brisbane today, as people with disability are already asking for help to get their submissions in.

People with disability experience much higher rates of violence than our peers without disability. People with intellectual disability are ten times more likely to experience violence than people without disability and twenty per cent of women with disability report a history of unwanted sex compared to 8.2% of women without disability.

“We know that there are many people with disability around the country who are writing their submissions right now, and sending them in to the Commission,” said Mr Smith.

“It is vital that the Disability Royal Commission accept submissions in whatever form they come in, and understand that people with disability will tell their stories about the abuse they have experienced in a variety of ways.”

“PWDA, like other advocacy organisations, has received a huge number of calls from people with disability who are engaging with the Commission,” said Mr Smith.

“We know how important it will be to make sure that people with disability have the legal, advocacy and counselling support they will need to talk about what happened to them safely and without being retraumatised.”

“We will be listening with interest at today’s opening session to hear how the Disability Royal Commission will be managing the conflicts of interest of two of the Commissioners, that many disability organisations and individuals have raised concerns about. This is something we will continue to keep an eye on, as the Commission unfolds,” said Mr Smith.

More information:
El Gibbs
Director, Media and Communications, People with Disability Australia
0408 682 867

About People with Disability Australia: 
People with Disability Australia (PWDA) is a national Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) that undertakes representation and advocacy to achieve the human rights of people with disability.  Our primary membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.  We have a cross-disability focus – we represent the interests of people with all kinds of disability.  PWDA is a non-profit, non-government organisation.

Our vision is of a socially just, accessible and inclusive community, in which the human rights, belonging, contribution, potential and diversity of all people with disability are recognised, respected and celebrated with pride.  This vision underpins everything that we do.