Disability Royal Commission is in its final stages – what can we do now?

Disability Royal Commission is in its final stage – what can we do now?

The Disability Royal Commission (the DRC) started nearly four years ago, and is now in its final stage. The DRC’s job is to investigate violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation experienced by people with disability. In its final report, due by 29 September 2023, it will make recommendations about:

• What should be done to better protect people with disability.
• What should be done to achieve best practice to encourage reporting, investigation and responses.
• What should be done to promote a more inclusive society that supports the independence of people with disability and their rights.

The opportunity to make submissions closed at the end of last year. CRU would like to acknowledge and thank the many people with disability, their families and supporters who took the time and borne the often heavy personal cost of making submissions and sharing experiences of mistreatment, exclusion, neglect, violence and abuse with the DRC.

What can we do now?

Whatever the final recommendations of Disability Royal Commission, and whatever actions state and federal governments eventually take based on those recommendations, there are still things we as ordinary citizens can and should do. Here are some resources that may be helpful right now.

• Inclusion is not just an issue for governments, policymakers, urban designers and mainstream and disability services to resolve. It can be a personal act and choice to welcome people. This short video explores the need for us all to have an inclusive mindset. Sharing resources like this with other people can be a simple way of encouraging people to think differently. Inclusive Mindset- Ability Links – YouTube

Safeguards are the things we can do or put into place that reduce or mitigate the vulnerabilities of individuals, systems or arrangements. It is important we recognise and understand vulnerabilities if we are to be prepared when things go wrong. While people with disability have the fundamental right to be safe and free from violence, neglect and abuse, not every strategy, policy or rule made in the name of safety delivers on its promise. Safeguarding must be about more than only being safe from immediate physical harm. For people with disability to take their rightful places in our society as equal, included and valued members, full inclusion must also be safeguarded. In the words of Michael Kendrick, “Long before you can safeguard anything, you need to know what it is you want to safeguard and why it matters to safeguard it.”

• In her article It’s so close you can touch it Ann Greer considers some factors in creating inclusive communities and some that work against inclusion, and suggests things that services and individuals can do to foster the inclusion of people with a disability in their community.

Whether you made a submission or not, if you are affected in any way by the Royal Commission, we encourage you to get in touch with the Blue Knot Foundation for access to specialist counselling and referrals. You can reach them on 1800 421 468:
• 9am – 6pm AEDT Monday to Friday
• 9am – 5pm AEDT Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
You can find more information, including other ways to contact Blue Knot on their website.