Broad Royal Commission terms of reference released, encouraging feedback in next two weeks
The Australian Government has released the draft terms of reference for the Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.
The terms are broad, a move that Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher says is deliberate to ensure that they account for a greater number of people at risk of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The terms note that the Commission should look into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability "in all settings and contexts," including disability support services, schools, workplaces, homes and hospitals.
The draft terms specifically require and authorise inquiry into:
- what governments, institutions and the community should do to prevent, and better protect, people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation;
- what governments, institutions and the community should do to achieve best practice to encourage reporting and effective responses to such conduct, including addressing failures in reporting, investigating and responding; and
- what should be done to promote a more inclusive society which supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The terms also encourage consideration of:
- all aspects of quality and safety of services, including informal supports, provided by governments, institutions and the community to people with disability;
- the specific needs of people with disability and their personal circumstances;
- the critical role families, carers, advocates, the workforce and others play in providing care and support to people with disability; and
- examples of good practice and models of innovation.
Speaking to the ABC, Fletcher said that it is not known at this stage how the Commission will be funded. "As yet, funding issues have not been resolved between the Commonwealth and the states and territories… That's one of the issues which is yet to be resolved, but I'm confident that's not going to be an impediment.”
NDS supports the Royal Commission because NDS understands that people with disability, like everyone else in our community, have the right to live free of the fear of abuse or neglect. NDS leads the Zero Tolerance initiative, in partnership with the Australian disability sector, to promote the human rights of people with disability and improve prevention of and responses to abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation.
NDS strongly encourages members to provide feedback on the draft terms of reference. The full terms can be found on the DSS website. Feedback can be provided online for the next two weeks (until 28 March).