Who better than people with disability, their families and allies to tell the Disability Royal Commission real stories of how people with disability can be valued, respected and included members of our society?
The Disability Royal Commission has been established to prevent people with disability experiencing violence, abuse and exploitation in Australia and to better protect them. As it is also charged with promoting a more inclusive society that supports people with disability to be independent and live free from those things, it will make recommendations about how Australia could become both more inclusive and safer. It is calling for your ideas and experiences on how Australia could do better in its Promoting Inclusion Issues Paper, by the new date of 4th June 2021.
Understandably, the Disability Royal Commission is happening because much still needs to change in our society for the people we care about. However at CRU, we also know that a lot of positive change has already happened for many individuals. Some extraordinary – and some wonderfully ordinary – things have been achieved. Across Queensland and Australia there are many untold stories of people with disability taking their place as valued members of their community. Kids learning together at school, having a meaningful job with real wages, being a helpful and appreciated neighbour, an active volunteer or community member, a skilled and respected hobbyist, to being a responsible and engaged citizen.
These stories of belonging and inclusion are very often the result of thoughtful planning and intentional efforts. They could be enlightening examples for the Disability Royal Commission, to show what is possible, and what it really takes. We believe these real stories could potentially influence the Royal Commission’s final recommendations, and hopefully the opportunities and experiences of generations to come. This is why we want to make sure you know of this opportunity.
We encourage you to draw on your experiences to make a submission to the Disability Royal Commission on the topic of inclusion, to help them understand what helps and what gets in the way in our efforts. A submission can be as long or as short as you want, and be in whatever format or language works best for you. There are guiding questions in the Promoting Inclusion Issues Paper, and our friends at Family Advocacy in NSW have recorded a webinar on responding to the issues paper. Alternatively, you could prepare a simple submission about what inclusion means in your experience using the following questions:
- What are your experiences of being included?
- What difference has belonging to something made in your life?
- In your efforts, what helped you to feel like you were included – what did you or others need to do?
- What barriers to belonging have you experienced – what stopped you, or slowed you down?
- Do you have ideas and suggestions about what would help others to overcome the barriers, or how we could get rid of the barriers altogether?
If you would like to share your story of inclusion this could be a response to the DRC’s issues paper, in which case they are encouraging you to respond by 4th June 2021 (originally the 2nd April). You can send your submission to DRCEnquiries@royalcommission.gov.au, post it to GPO Box 1422, Brisbane 4001, or call 1800 517 199 to arrange a time to make your submission over the phone.
If your experiences include abuse, violence or neglect, or if there are particular individuals or organisations who have failed or done the wrong thing and this is relevant to the story you want to tell, it is a good idea to speak to an advocacy organisation. They can give you advice, help you get free legal advice, and support you to telling your story. You can use the national disability advocacy finder to find an advocacy organisation working in your area.
If you are finding that the Disability Royal Commission is affecting you, including through reports in the media, you can access free counselling support by calling the Blue Knott Foundation on 1800 421 468.