The disability Royal Commission has a particular focus which is quite specific in respect of mistreatment of people with disabilities. There is acknowledgement that people who have disabilities have a right of respect of their worth and fulfil their potential to be safe in environments which are free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. For all intents and purposes, the disability Royal Commission is about mistreatment and a right that the person with a disability has to be in an environment which is free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The Disability Royal Commission has charted to do the following:
- Inquire as to the current extent to which mistreatment of people with disabilities are exposed to.
- Advise government institutions and the community to what can be done to prevent mistreatment
- Advise on strategies to improve reporting an effective response to instances of mistreatment of people with disabilities
- To develop strategies and advise as to how the community can support people with disabilities so that they do not violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation.
What can the Royal Commission request from a disability service?
The Royal Commission will invite disability services to furnish extensive information in relation to mistreatment of people with disabilities and how complaints are being handled in respect to any allegations of mistreatment of people with disabilities.
Who can raise issues with the disability Royal Commissions?
- Any person with a disability, family members and carers are entitled to raise complaints with people to the disability Commission about violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disabilities.
- Matters are not limited to current instances, but the Commission can rely on previous incidents that may have been resolved. For instance, if a complaint has been raised to the Quality Safeguards Commission, then that complaint could be further re-examined by the Disability Royal Commission and how the complaint was handled, resolved and what steps the organisation would impose to ensure similar instances did not take place.
At all times, the Commission must be mindful that there is no prejudice to current or future civil proceedings which are contemporaneous with its inquiries.
What does this mean for disability organisations?
- Disability organisations should identify each of the individual areas of where there has been allegations on violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with disabilities within their organisation.
- All disability organisations should put in place the appropriate document management procedures to ensure that all material in relation to investigations have been complied in one place.
- That information is readily available in totality if the Commission calls upon it.
- To obtain advice from lawyers, to ensure that there is no prejudice to the person suffering a disability or a potential ongoing prosecution of a criminal or civil case.
A thorough complaint procedure and review process should be prepared in the lead up to the Royal Commission. JFMLAW can perform an audit of your complaints process ensuring that all complaints are independently looked at and properly handled. We can also provide advice on compliance and governance in the disability sector and provide representation if required.
If your organisation or business requires advice and assistance regarding policies and procedures surrounding the disability sector, please do not hesitate to contact JFMLAW on (02) 9199 8597.