The Disability Royal Commission looks back at their progress in investigating violence, exploitation, neglect, and abuse of people with disability in the last 6 months. This Progress Report gives us a good understanding of the current situation and areas for improvement.
We break down this report into some key areas. You can access versions of the full report here.
766 submissions have been received from December 2019 to 30 June 2020. That brings the total to 1137 by the end of June. Out of those submissions:
- Almost half (46%) came from people with disability
- 36% were from family members, and 15% from support workers or advocates
- Submissions included experiences of violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation across many settings, like in education, living arrangements, and the NDIS
A number of submissions were made on behalf of First Nations people, those who identify as LGBTIQ+, or from CALD backgrounds. If you would like help to make a submission, there are a variety of supports available.
From the submissions received so far, the Royal Commission noticed some trends in what people shared with them:
- People with disability say that it’s hard to report violence, neglect, abuse, or exploitation
- Some felt that their complaints were ignored or weren’t acted on
Common topics include:
- Lack of choice and control
- Little access to services and inclusion in the community
- Restrictive practices and involuntary treatment
- Negative attitudes towards people with disability by community members
Effects of COVID-19
On the 26th March the Royal Commission released a Statement of Concern on the impact of the pandemic on people with disability. Earlier that month all public hearings were also postponed to avoid further spread.
While everyone is negatively impacted by the current health crisis, people with disability are more at risk of health issues, diseases, and preventable illnesses.
The Royal Commission requested immediate action from the Government to address a number of concerns. This includes access to health care, essential support services, and supporting those living in secluded residential facilities.
Soon after they released an Emergency Planning and Response Issue Paper to gather experiences in this area. The responses so far show that:
- People with disability are highly anxious about COVID-19
- Their anxiety is worse because they feel left behind by community and government responses
- The delivery of services and supports is a major concern during the pandemic
There’s a lot of work to be done to protect and prevent violence, exploitation, neglect, and abuse of people with disability. However, this also shows the importance of the Royal Commission and their efforts in finding solutions to these problems.
Further research and recommendations will be published in the Royal Commission’s Interim Report by the end of October.