Media Release: The Disability Royal Commission needs more time to stop violence and abuse of people with disability

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) has written to the Acting Attorney-General Michaelia Cash and Prime Minister Scott Morrison supporting calls made by the Hon. Ronald Sackville, Chair of the Disability Royal Commission (DRC), requesting the Australian Government extend the commission to September 2023.

“This extension is needed urgently if the commission is to properly fulfil its role investigating the violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability,” said PWDA chief executive officer Sebastian Zagarella.

For almost two years, survivors and witnesses who wished to make submissions to the Disability Royal Commission have not been guaranteed full confidentiality.

As a result, many people who have wanted to make submissions have either delayed or joined the waiting list for a private session.

With privacy laws now expected to be passed in May, the DRC will need significantly more time to fully engage with new submissions for their research and final report.

Delays have also been caused by COVID-19 restrictions.

The pandemic delayed many of the day-to-day operations of the Disability Royal Commission for a significant period in 2020, and lockdowns and travel restrictions have hampered the capacity of advocates to reach people who might like to make submissions in remote and hard to access areas.

It has become apparent that investigating the full extent and cause of all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation committed against people with disability in all settings will take significantly more than three years.

These are complex matters that deserve a full and thorough investigation. 

“This royal commission is a once in a generation opportunity to properly investigate the harms being done to people with disability in Australia,” Zagarella said. “It is vitally important to the safety and wellbeing of our community that the time is taken to do it right.”

Media enquiries:

People with Disability Australia
Media & Communications
0491 034 479