Disability royal commission findings to be handed down today

A long-awaited final report on the disability royal commission will contain “disturbing” findings, according to a senior minister.

The government is set to hand down its findings from a four-and-a-half year-long investigation into violence and abuse against people with disabilities in Australia on Friday.

Since it began in 2019, the inquiry has heard harrowing accounts of sexual assaults, abuse in group homes, and violence from tens of thousands of people with disabilities and their families.

Environment Services Minister Tanya Plibersek said she anticipated the final report would make for a “disturbing reading.”

“We constantly have heard stories that are disturbing stories about the abuse and neglect of people with disability,” she told Sky.

“The important thing now is to make sure people with disabilities can live safely, can be part of our community in safety, that the institutions that are supposed to support and look after them are surely doing that.”

Commissioners delivered a final report on Thursday in Canberra, where it will be tabled in parliament for public release on Friday.

A total of $599.3 million was spent on the investigation and it is expected to detail an overhaul of how disability support services are delivered and accessed in Australia.

One of the most shocking stories heard during the inquiry came from a young Queensland woman with cerebral palsy, who told a hearing in 2022 she was raped, beaten and “treated like a dog” by a paid personal assistant.

Another heard from a mother of a severely autistic man who said her son was “put in a cage” while living in a disability group home.

Other hearings held across the country heard detailed accounts of disability service providers forcing clients to take psychotropic drugs to control their behaviour.

One mother told a hearing in Victoria in 2020 that her son who lived with intellectual disability “looked like a zombie” after returning home from Christmas after moving into a group disability home.

Since it began, the royal commission has held a total 32 hearings, 1,785 private sessions and received 7,944 submissions.

Ahead of the final report’s release Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the government would be closely examining its findings.

“We will take this report seriously,” Ms Rishworth told ABC on Thursday.

“Inclusion needs to be embedded right across the community because that is how we ensure people with disability are properly included and inclusive across our whole society.”

Leave a Comment