Disability Royal Commission: 2021 Timeline and Interim Report

Despite lockdowns and other consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic, last year the interim report of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability was submitted to the Governor General in line with the 30 October deadline.

With more than 1,600 submissions to date, Chair Mr Ronald Sackville AO has now moved to extend the Disability Royal Commission’s (DRC) timeline by more than a year, to September 2023.

At Civic, we fully support the important work of the DRC and commend those who have already contributed by submitting to the Commission. Reviewing what has gone wrong in the past is an important step towards cementing a better future, and we will continue to take our responsibility to contribute to future hearings and debates extremely seriously.

Interim Report

The 561-page Interim Report, released in October 2020, documented 36 of the poignant stories the Commission has received since beginning its work in April 2019. These stories are difficult to read, exposing injustices suffered at the hands of professionals charged with the care and support of those with disability, including doctors, service providers and the NDIS.

While each story and experience is unique, the Report outlines seven common themes the Commissioners have identified as critical to ensuring the safety, inclusion and support of individuals with disability. These are:

  • Choice and control
  • Attitudes towards disability, segregation and exclusion
  • Restrictive Practices
  • Access to services and supports
  • Oversight and complaints
  • Advocacy and representation
  • Funding

There is no doubt that, as the Royal Commission continues its work, more stories will emerge to support these themes. Ultimately, we hope the Commission will ensure the delivery of policies, practices and laws that safeguard a brighter – and safer – future for those with disability, whilst raising awareness of some of the unnecessary hardships and attitudes experienced by a still-marginalised group of our society.

While the Commission continues to uncover often distressing stories people have experienced, we remain committed to setting an example of service excellence within our sector. We do this through our ongoing investment in staff training, our commitment to client engagement, our rigorous policies and procedures and our commitment to Human and Disability Rights.

Disability Royal Commission So Far

Before concluding in September 2023, the Disability Royal Commission will look at a number of issues to do with violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. Hearings often focus on particular topics, and the DRC has called for submissions in response to issues papers.

So far the DRC has held hearings on:

  • Education
  • Housing
  • Healthcare
  • COVID-19
  • Restrictive Practices

The Disability Royal Commission has also released issues papers on the following issues:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Emergency Planning and Response
  • Rights and Attitudes
  • Employment
  • Restrictive Practices
  • First Nations People with Disability

Future hearings throughout 2021 will focus on:

  • Justice
  • Healthcare professionals – education and training
  • NDIS and service providers
  • Restraints in education
  • The health and safety of women and girls with disability
  • Employment

DRC Timeline

  • The commission began in April 2019, with the first public hearing  held in Brisbane on 16 September 2019.  
  • Progress reports were published in December 2019 and August 2020
  • The Interim Report was published in October 2020. 
  • To date, the Commission has received more than 1,600 submissions, published nine issues papers and an Interim Report and managed more than 6,000 phone enquires. 
  • In October 2020 Chair Mr Ronald Sackville asked the Prime Minister to extend the Royal Commission’s timeline to September 2023. 
  • Public hearings in 2021 will be held in February, April, May June, July, August September, November and December. 

You can access a calendar of hearings by clicking here.

Contributing to the DRC

Hearing from those who have suffered injustice is the only way to understand the extent and impact of violence, neglect, exploitation and abuse against people with disability and prevent it from happening again.

Civic fully supports the work of the Disability Royal Commission, and encourages anyone who has experienced violence, neglect, abuse or exploitation to share their story with the Commissioners.

Anyone can make a submission, which can be made by telephone, email, video or through the DRC’s website. You can find out more information and make a submission by clicking here.

  • Call 1300MYCIVIC
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