‘Everything about us, without us’: Concerns after only 15 per cent of disability royal commission witnesses had lived experience at recent hearing

People with disabilities are still highly undervalued among the witnesses of the Royal Commission for Disabilities, defending fear and raising concerns that groundbreaking investigations have overlooked important evidence.

According to a list of witnesses compiled by the Commission, only five witnesses called to deal with the 11th hearing that began in Brisbane on Tuesday have lived the experience of disability.

This is compared to the 28 witnesses who were asked to provide evidence as an expert, advocate, or family member of the disabled.

The lack of testimony from persons with disabilities arises as concerns continue about how the Royal Commission deals with violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of persons with disabilities. Includes stronger privacy requirements..

Western Australia Greens Senator Jordan said, “A significant proportion (arguing the majority) of those who have been given the opportunity to submit evidence to the Commission is fundamental, not to mention being disabled in and of itself. It should be a high expectation. ” Steel John lives with cerebral palsy.

Green Party Senator Jordon Steele-John has long fought for the Royal Commission on the Treatment of Persons with Disabilities in Australia.


He said the Commission has moved away from the long-standing catch cry in the disabled community, which states that “there is nothing about us without us.”

“It looks like we’re on the verge of a committee exploring all of us without us, and that’s unacceptable,” he told SBS News.

Senator Steel John is one of the supporters who has spent years calling on the Royal Commission for the abuse and negligence of people with disabilities in Australia.

He is currently afraid that the long-awaited investigation will not achieve its purpose because it has failed to establish a relationship of trust with the disabled community.

In October last year, Ronald Sackville, a former federal court judge who chaired the committee, said Requested a 1.5 year extension of the Commission Describe the process as “not a sprint” or “marathon” to complete the work.

Initially, the final report was scheduled to be submitted in April 2022, but if the extension is approved, the deadline will be moved to September 2023.

The request for extension was made shortly after the announcement by Attorney General Christian Porter. Plan to amend the Royal Commission law To ensure the confidentiality of witnesses during and after the investigation, it prevented people from moving forward after a lengthy campaign by disabled activists who warned of the lack of safeguards.

Witnesses can now request confidentiality during the investigation and participate in private sessions, but ensure that the identity behind the written submission is sealed after the Commission submits the final report. There is no safeguard for.

At the request of Mr. Sackville, four months after announcing plans to amend the Royal Commission Act of 1902 to ensure confidentiality beyond the investigation period, the government still reveals details of the planned changes. Is not …

Mr. Porter used to say that he Introducing the amendments at the 2021 Fall seats..

Sam Connor, chairman of the Australian Commission on Persons with Disabilities, the premier state institution, said about 1.5 years after the commission was launched in September 2019, there are still obvious issues in ensuring that people with disabilities are secured. “It’s not enough,” he said. Give evidence.

“If we’re here and there are still a few people with disabilities on the stand, we need to consider whether the Royal Commission for the Disabled is available, especially for people with cognitive disabilities,” she said. Told.

“If you don’t have access to it, the Royal Commission for Persons with Disabilities should ask you why. You need the real voice of people with disabilities, not agents.”

The final list of witnesses has been edited by the Royal Commission under the leadership of Mr. Sackville.

“Looking at the list of hearing participants, the majority of whom are not disabled, the decision lies ultimately with the chair,” said Senator Steel John.

“Chair Sackville has both the responsibility to ensure that the voice of the disabled appears on the witness list, and to correct it otherwise.”

He also said that it was a “danger signal” that only two of the seven commissioners, Alastair McCuin and Ronda Galbury, were disabled.

Ms. Connor said there were several reasons why people with disabilities were not properly represented by the stands, including the historical devaluation of the voices of people with disabilities.

“But there are barriers, including finances, people’s ability to talk safely, and accessibility issues,” she said.

These barriers include the risk that people living in the facility will talk about treatment within their organization.

“We need to make sure that people have confidentiality obligations so that whistleblowers can talk about themselves as needed and don’t have to worry about subpoenas being submitted. “She said.

“There are many reasons why people may not have been able to move forward or want to move forward in the past.”

Sackville mistakenly said in SBS News that people with disabilities were underestimated as witnesses, citing the role of the Royal Commission in hearing direct stories of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. , How these things happen and what needs to be changed to prevent the recurrence of these abuses. “

“”The Royal Commission needs to investigate how systematic problems evolve and what their solutions are. This means that we have to look for evidence from various witnesses, “he said.

He added that all witnesses will be provided with counseling before, during, and after being called to submit evidence by a trained professional counselor working with people who have experienced trauma.

The 11th hearing, which reviews the experiences of people with cognitive disabilities within the criminal justice system, will continue next week before the end of February 25.

On the first day of the recent hearing, Melanie who used a pseudonym Judiciary system as an indigenous woman with intellectual disabilities..

The committee was informed that Melanie would be quarantined 23 hours a day for seven years, further limiting her freedom depending on her actions.

“It was inhumane to keep someone in a remote place for a long time,” Melanie said.

The Commission’s interim report released last October noted a high rate of violence against persons with disabilities, and over a 12-month period, persons with disabilities could experience twice as much violence as people without disabilities. He said he had sex.

A free national legal service has been established to help people share their stories with the Commission.Service called Legal support for your story disabilityIs independent of the investigation and is funded by legal aid.

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‘Everything about us, without us’: Concerns after only 15 per cent of disability royal commission witnesses had lived experience at recent hearing Source link ‘Everything about us, without us’: Concerns after only 15 per cent of disability royal commission witnesses had lived experience at recent hearing

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