Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

Need Help?

You can get help to tell your story. 

It will not cost you any money.

You can get help from people who can:

– help you make choices about telling your story
– give you legal advice
– help you with communicating or interpreters
– help you with getting other types of support

– help you to tell your story (advocacy)
– help you with emotional support
   (someone to help you with how this makes you feel)

– help you with money if you need it to help you tell your story
– help you in other ways

The contact details of the people who can help you are below.
You can also go to the Royal Commission Support page here.

Advocacy support is available from RIAC for people with disability (or family members or carers acting on their behalf) who may have difficulty in communicating or understanding how to engage with the Commission.

You can get help from an advocacy agency to tell your story.

Advocacy agencies can help you:

– Protect your rights
– Help you say what you want to say
– Provide advice in your best interest
– Help you get the supports you need

To check which region or to choose an advocacy organisation, you can find your closest advocacy agency’s details by clicking here.

 What is a Royal Commission?

A Royal Commission is a type of public inquiry. It’s started by the Government, but it’s conducted by people who are independent of Government, often former judges. Unlike many inquiries by Government, a Royal Commission is established by law that gives them special powers. They have the power to summon witnesses and authorise search warrant applications, and if witnesses don’t appear or give false evidence, there are penalties. For all of these reasons, they are known as the highest form of public inquiry.

Who will the Royal Commission apply to? Where will it apply?

The Royal Commission will apply to all people with disability, of all ages. It specifically recognises that “the specific experiences of violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability are multilayered and influenced by experiences associated with their age, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, intersex status, ethnic origin or race, including the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability”.

It will apply to “all settings and contexts”. This means community, institutional and residential settings, including, but not limited to: institutions, group homes, workplaces, respite care, day programs, mental health facilities, prisons, schools, out-of-home care, transport, hospitals, aged care facilities, family homes, mainstream services and community settings.

Where will the Royal Commission be located?

The Royal Commission will be based in Brisbane, however, the Prime Minister also said that hearings would take place around the country. More details will be released in the coming months and we will continue to update you.

How can I tell my story to the Royal Commission? When will it be time to talk to the Royal Commission?

You will be able to contribute to the Royal Commission in a couple of ways.

 The Government has said the Royal Commission will be accessible, so we expect that people will be able to make submissions in the way that is most appropriate for them, including in community languages and by video.

Hearings are where the Commissioners listen to witnesses about their knowledge and experiences. Hearing dates and locations will begin to be announced in the next few months. Private sessions will be available for people with disability who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

We will continue to update as more details come from the Royal Commission.

What are private sessions?

Private sessions are a way for you to tell your story to the Royal Commission without having to give formal evidence. You can decide whether you take part, and if you do, you do not have to swear an oath or affirmation. The private sessions will not be public in the way that other hearings of the Royal Commission will be, and any information you give can only be used by the Royal Commission if it removes your identifying details. They are only attended by you, your support person/s if you choose, and Royal Commission staff.

Are the States and Territories included in the Royal Commission?

The State and Territory Governments have agreed to this Royal Commission, and it covers services provided by all Australian Governments, including State and Territory Governments, for example state-run institutions, group homes and prisons.

What are the rates of violence against people with disability?

  • people with disability experience far higher rates of violence than the rest of the community;
  • women with disability experience higher rates of sexual assault than other women;
  • children with disability are three times more likely to experience abuse than other children;
  • people with disability experience violence in places where they are meant to be receiving support;
  • people with disability can’t always rely on the police for protection against violence;

people with disability are often treated as ‘unreliable witnesses’, or are not even permitted by law to provide testimony at all.



    RIAC acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders past and present.

    RIAC is committed to: ensuring diversity and equality in regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, disability, religion or belief, marital status, sexual orientation or transgender status.
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