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Update on the Disability Royal Commission

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (DRC) recommenced public hearings, with the release of their schedule for the remainder of the year. These hearings started in Sydney in August, with the following hearings being scheduled for Sydney and Brisbane. The Royal Commission have made it clear that these hearings are subject to change given the current pandemic we’re facing. The topics of the scheduled hearings include:


  • Experiences of people with disability during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
  • Psychotropic medication, behaviour support and behaviours of concern,
  • Barriers experienced by students with disability in accessing and obtaining a safe, quality and inclusive school education and consequent life course impacts,
  • Long term, including indefinite, detention and interactions with the criminal justice system experienced by people with disability,
  • The experiences of First Nations people with disability and their families in contact with child protection systems,
  • Training and education of health care professionals in relation to people with cognitive disability, and


The Royal Commission unexpectedly released another progress report in August, outlining their achievements during the first 6 months of 2020. The Royal Commission have also advised that, despite not being a requirement, they will continue to release 6 monthly progress reports, to ensure transparency. Some highlights of the second report include:


  • The release of the COVID-19 Statement of Concern in March,
  • Public hearing 4: Health care and services for people with cognitive disability in February,
  • Public hearing 5: Experiences of people with disability during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in August,
  • The First Nations engagement principles was published in June,
  • Numerous engagement with First Nations people with disability,
  • The Royal Commission held a national roundtable consultation with key stakeholders from the culturally and linguistically diverse disability sector on 26 May 2020,
  • The Royal Commission held a targeted focus group with five self-advocates and two representatives from an advocacy organisation in Tasmania on 20 May 2020,
  • Outlining their research team members and focus,
  • The release of 6 Issues Papers:
  • Criminal justice system issues paper (14 January 2020)
  • Emergency planning and response issues paper (15 April 2020)
  • Rights and attitudes issues paper (28 April 2020)
  • Employment issues paper (12 May 2020)
  • Restrictive practices issues paper (26 May 2020)
  • First Nations people with disability issues paper (9 June 2020).


As always, we will continue to provide regular updates on the Royal Commission; however, if you would like more information, contact Chelsea Arnold on 8273 7100 (a return phone call will be arranged) or [email protected] or please visit their website.

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