A Royal Commission into violence against people with disability is urgently needed according to disability advocates, prompting a fresh call for investigation.
President of People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and spokesperson for Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPOA), Bonnie Millen says the Royal Commission into the banking and finance industry is doing an excellent job at exposing problems and illegal behaviour and now it is the disability sector’s turn.
“We have been saying for several years now that people with disability need a Royal Commission to properly address the appalling rates of violence and abuse we are subjected to, particularly now that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolling out more widely and the whole disability sector is going through immense change.”
“Only a Royal Commission has the power to break down doors and shine light on the violence against people with disability that has been hidden away,” Ms Millen says.
This isn’t the first time a Royal Commission has been requested, with instances of abuse, violence and neglect well-documented through inquiries, hearings, reviews and reports over many years.
A Senate Enquiry in 2015 found widespread instances of violence and abuse against people with disability, however, the Federal Government insisted the recently launched National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission would address the inquiry recommendations.
“The Commission doesn’t have the power of a Royal Commission, it won’t lead to structural change and can’t bring justice for past abuses,” Ms Millen says.
In 2017, over 260 civil society groups and academics joined the call for a Royal Commission, with The Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens in support.
Australian Federation of Disability Organisation (AFDO) Chief Executive Officer, Ross Joyce says “there should be nowhere to hide.”
“The abuse and neglect of people with disability, some of the most vulnerable people within our community, is shameful and totally unacceptable,” he says.
“AFDO has long demanded a Royal Commission to spotlight this serious offending and to put this front and centre with the Australian community.”
“To allow those affected to tell their stories, to reveal those perpetrating or ignoring this abuse and to ensure we take all the necessary legal, structural, community and appropriate steps to ensure this is finally ended.”
The abuse of people with disability includes physical, sexual, emotional, financial and psychological.
Shockingly, over 90 percent of women with an intellectual disability are reported to have been victims of sexual assault, with the elderly, women and young females also often falling victim.
Pressure is being put on the Turnbull Government as the campaigning for a Royal Commission into this violence, neglect and abuse continues.