Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
March 2019 | News | Emma Hodgson
The Commonwealth Government released the draft terms of reference for the Royal Commission on 13 March 2019.
The draft terms of reference are broad and ask that the Royal Commission inquire into what governments, institutions and the community should do to prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability in different settings and contexts.
The draft terms of reference suggest that the Royal Commission will inquire into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), as well as the particular needs of people with disability. The critical role that families, carers, advocates and others play in providing care and support to people with disability is also slated for review.
Disability support organisations, schools, child care providers, hospitals, and mental health facilities will fall within the scope of the inquiry.
What can you be doing now?
Interested parties have until 28 March 2019 to provide feedback on the draft terms of reference.
There are a number of pre-emptive steps which can be undertaken by organisations which are likely to fall within the Royal Commission’s reach.
We suggest that any such organisations consider taking the following steps now:
- briefing their governing bodies on the likely terms of reference of the proposed Royal Commission, the Royal Commission process and the likely categories of documents that the Royal Commission may call on the organisation to produce;
- nominating a central contact person or team of people within the organisation who will have responsibility for the task of preparing for the Royal Commission;
- ensuring that current document management systems are working effectively;
- identifying those documents within the organisation’s possession and control which may be relevant when responding to a notice from the Royal Commission; and
- articulating the types of reforms to the regulatory landscape that would better assist their organisation provide services to people with disabilities.
Prolegis Lawyers acts for a number of organisations that provide services to people with disability and are sensitive to the particular needs of these organisations (and their clients) and the sector in which they operate. We also have extensive experience in assisting organisations respond to similar inquiries, including the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.