Royal Commission into Disability

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is accepting submissions. A submission is the main way people and organisations can provide information to the Royal Commission about their experiences of violence, neglect, abuse or exploitation of people with disability. Anybody can make a submission. Submissions can be made using the form available on the Royal Commission Submissions page.

Emergency planning and responses

People with disability can be severely affected by emergencies and may be at a higher risk of experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation at these times. An issues paper asks questions to help people and organisations to provide responses.

The period for making a submission officially closed in July but the Royal Commission will accept your submissions anytime.

This is Deafness Forum’s submission on behalf of its community – Submission to Disability Royal Commission – Emergency Planning and Response 15May2020

Rights and attitudes

The Royal Commission has released an issues paper on rights and attitudes.

The Commission wants to learn more about how people understand the rights of people with disability. It wants to know how lack of awareness of those rights might contribute to people with disability experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. It’s interested in how these rights are respected, promoted and kept safe in laws, policies and practices.

The formal period for receiving submissions closed in July but submissions will also be accepted now.


The Royal Commission wants to hear about the things that inhibit people with disability in their employment.

Participating in the workforce is important for social inclusion and economic independence.

Download the issues paper at

Responses from individuals and organisations to the issues paper are due by 14 August 2020, but submissions will also be accepted after that date.

This is Deafness Forum’s submission – Submission to Disability Royal Commission – Employment Issues Paper 18May2020

Deafness Forum’s promotion of the Disability Royal Commission is enabled by a financial grant from:

The Royal Commission has suspended its public hearings and face to face private sessions due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

In this captioned Auslan video you can learn how to use the Disability Royal Commission website. And you can learn about the many ways you can choose to engage with the Royal Commission to share your experience, to find support or legal assistance and much more. Click the image (above).

You can contact the Disability Royal Commission:

  • by email at
  • by telephone on 1800 517 199 (9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday AEDT excluding public holidays)
  • by post at GPO Box 1422, Brisbane Qld 4001

ABC Television has created a webpage where it will post its news stories on this Royal Commission –

Support services


The National Counselling and Referral Service run by Blue Knot Foundation provides short-term and trauma-informed counselling services. Counselling provides an opportunity for people to discuss how they are feeling, and receive support in order to make decisions about telling their story in a safe and confidential environment. Blue Knot Foundation are specialists in phone counselling and complex trauma, and currently provide counselling and referral services for people engaging with the National Redress Scheme. Their experienced practitioners will also connect people to other supports they might need such as advocacy, legal and financial services, long-term counselling services and crisis support.

You can call the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468, 9am to 6pm weekdays or 9am to 5pm weekends AEDT. For support in other languages, please ask for an interpreter when contacting the Service.

People who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment can contact the service through the National Relay Service (NRS) on 133 677.

Advocacy support

The Government has extended its well-established National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) to support people with disability to engage with the Disability Royal Commission. Advocacy support is for people with disability (or family members or carers acting on their behalf) who need assistance because they have difficulty in communicating or understanding how to engage with the Commission. An advocate will be able to help people with disability to understand how to tell their story to the Disability Royal Commission, how to work out problems or avoid discriminatory issues, find communication supports such as interpreters, and access other supports such as legal or financial services.

A free legal advisory service funded through the Attorney-General’s Department will help people with disability to understand their legal rights and options for engaging with the Disability Royal Commission. National Legal Aid and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services will be providing the national legal advisory service. You can contact the national legal advisory service on 1800 771 800, 9.15am–5.15pm AEDT, Monday to Friday to register for the service.

Royal Commission Legal Service

The Disability Royal Commission Legal Service is a free national legal service to give information and advice to people who want to tell their story to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The DRC Legal Service can provide free, independent legal advice to:

  • people with disability
  • their families, carers, supporters, and advocates.
  • only give legal advice about individual matters (they can’t help organisations)

The DRC Legal Service is to be independent of the Disability Royal Commission.


Statement by Deafness Forum of Australia

People with disability have the same rights as other members of society to live and participate in safety free of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. Behaviours and violent practices against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability are unacceptable and inexcusable.

Deafness Forum of Australia is an independent peak body advocating for the highest quality of service to its constituents. Deafness Forum values its affiliations and relationships with organisations throughout the sector and duly recognises that some may come under scrutiny from commissioners. It sees the Royal Commission as providing an opportunity to improve the quality of service for the millions of Australians, enabling them to make complaints and give evidence without fear of retribution, by providing a legal assistance mechanism and implementation of laws to protect and enhance the wellbeing of people with disability.