Disability Royal Commission
What is a Royal Commission?
A Royal Commission is an investigation, independent of government, into a matter of great importance. Royal Commissions have broad powers to hold public hearings, call witnesses under oath and compel evidence.
Royal Commissions make recommendations to government about what should change. Each Royal Commission has terms of reference, which define the issues it will look into.
What is the Disability Royal Commission Investigating?
The Disability Royal Commission is investigating reports of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation of people with disability. These incidents might have happened recently or a long time ago.
The Disability Royal Commission is investigating how to:
- prevent and better protect people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
- achieve best practice in reporting, investigating and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability
- promote a more inclusive society that supports people with disability to be independent and live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
What is Your Story Disability Legal Support?
Your Story Disability Legal Support (Your Story) supports people with disability, their families, carers, supporters and advocates who want to tell their story to the Disability Royal Commission.Your Story is independent from the Commission.
Your Story is a joint project of National Legal Aid and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, funded by the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department.
Formerly known as the Disability Royal Commission Legal Service, the name was recently changed to Your Story Disability Legal Support (YSDLS) to emphasise our independence from the Disability Royal Commission.
How can Your Story Disability Legal Support help?
Your Story provides independent legal support to help people prepare and feel empowered to safely engage with the Disability Royal Commission.
Some of the reasons people may need legal advice to safely tell their story to the Disability Royal Commission include where:
- They want to name a person or organisation in their story or submission;
- There is a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement that stops them from telling all or part of their story;
- There is concern about retribution or payback that may impact on safety, access to services, employment or any other fundamental right;
- They want their story or submission, or parts of it, to be kept private; or
- They are registered to speak at a community forum.
If a client is called to be a witness at a public hearing, Your Story can help connect them with a barrister or lawyer to represent them at the public hearing. This is funded through the Commonwealth Attorney General's Legal Financial Assistance Scheme.
Your Story can also:
- Help clients prepare for and attend private sessions
- Refer clients to Disability Advocates, who can help them put together a submission
- Refer clients to counselling and referral services including face-to-face counselling services that are funded through the Commonwealth Department of Social Services.
- Draft submissions for everyone
- Provide representation at public hearings
- Provide any legal advice to organisations
How can I access Your Story Disability Legal Support?
Your Story provides their service in a way that works best for clients, including over the phone, video/skype and face to face.
Clients can contact the Information Line on 1800 771 800 (free call) Monday to Friday from 9.15am to 5.15pm (AEDT) or on our website: https://yourstorydisabilitylegal.org.au/Contact-us
There is a Your Story lawyer located in WA who supports the national service by:
- offering legal support to clients to engage with the Disability Royal Commission;
- helping clients with referrals to local support agencies;
- helping clients with referrals to disability advocates who can help with preparing a submission to the Disability Royal Commission;
- helping clients with referrals to private practitioners who may be able to offer representation for people at the Disability Royal Commission;
- offering community legal education to the community about the Disability Royal Commission.
To contact the Your Story lawyer located in WA, call the Legal Aid Western Australia Infoline on 1300 650 579 (free call) Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 4.00pm (WST).
How can I refer clients to Your Story Disability Legal Support?
If you work with or support someone with a disability who has experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation, you can access free legal support through our national Infoline 1800 771 800 (free call) or the national website.
- Your Story Disability Legal Support – national website
- Disability Royal Commission – information on the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
Reviewed 6 May 2020