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About the Disability Royal Commission

About the Disability Royal Commission

Formal submissions to the Disability Royal Commission have now closed. A final report will be delivered to the Australian Government in September 2023.


The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (Disability Royal Commission) is investigating the mistreatment of people with disability in Australia. Mistreatment is more likely to happen to people with disability than people without disability.

The Disability Royal Commission has been established by the Australian Government, but it is independent from the government. The Disability Royal Commission was announced in April 2019. It is the highest form of inquiry in Australia.

The Disability Royal Commission is being funded until September 2023. Funding is also being provided for advocacy and counselling to support people with disability to take part.

The Disability Royal Commission is examining services provided for people with disability by governments (including the federal, state and local governments), institutions and community organisations. It will also identify ways that these groups can protect people with disability in future.

The Disability Royal Commission is looking at all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, as well as the places where these things may occur. This includes in homes, services or other places. It will also consider what can be done to stop these things happening, including how to make it easier to report a problem, have it investigated and resolved.

The Disability Royal Commission is exploring how Australia can become a more inclusive place where everyone can live a safe and independent life. It will listen to people with disability and ensure they have a say in decisions that affect them. It will also look specifically at the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, those from culturally diverse backgrounds, and people who are members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) community.

The Disability Royal Commission is operated by Commissioners. It is their role to undertake this inquiry into the violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

The Disability Royal Commission has been holding hearings around Australia. Anyone with disability who has experienced mistreatment, or anyone who has witnessed the mistreatment of a person with disability, was able to provide written or verbal information to the Disability Royal Commission, or ask to speak to the Commissioners.

For more information, visit the Disability Royal Commission website.


Terms of Reference

The Disability Royal Commission’s guiding document, the Terms of Reference, state that the Disability Royal Commission exists to examine how to:

  • prevent, and better protect, people with disability from having violence, abuse, neglect and/or exploitation perpetrated against them
  • achieve best practice in reporting and investigating of, and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and/or exploitation
  • promote a more inclusive society that supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and/or exploitation. 


Key terms

The Terms of Reference defines some key terms so that everyone has the same understanding when they interact with the Disability Royal Commission.

Violence and abuse: 

Violence and abuse include assault, sexual assault, constraints, restrictive practices (physical and chemical), forced treatments, forced interventions, humiliation and harassment, financial and economic abuse and significant violations of privacy and dignity on a systemic or individual basis.



Neglect includes physical and emotional neglect, passive neglect and wilful deprivation. Neglect can be a single significant incident or a systemic issue that involves depriving a person with disability of the basic necessities of life such as food, drink, shelter, access, mobility, clothing, education, medical care and treatment.



Exploitation is the improper use of another person or the improper use of or withholding of another person’s assets, labour, employment or resources including taking physical, sexual, financial or economic advantage.


How do I contact the Disability Royal Commission?

The Disability Royal Commission can be contacted in three ways:


Communication assistance

If you are Deaf/deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment, you can contact the Disability Royal Commission via the National Relay Service.

Step 1: Call 133 677

Step 2: Choose your access options.  Visit the National Relay Service website for different call numbers.

Step 3: When asked by the relay officer, provide the Disability Royal Commission phone number 1 800 517 199.


For urgent assistance

If you are currently experiencing any form of violence or abuse, or are concerned for your safety, call emergency services on 000 and ask for the Police.

If you need to speak to someone urgently, please call one of the following services:

  • If you are feeling overwhelmed or thinking about self-harm or suicide, call Lifeline Crisis Support on 13 11 14 at any time
  • If you need free, immediate, short-term counselling with a trained mental health professional, call Beyond Blue on 1 300 22 46 36 at any time
  • For information and support, call the Disability Royal Commission National Counselling and Referral service on 1800 421 468 between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

For additional support, view our list of external disability support services.


Relationships Australia Victoria is one of the two organisations in Victoria providing a Counselling and Support Service for People Affected by the Royal Commission. drummond street services is the other organisation.

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