Submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
Women’s Safety NSW is not a disability specialist organisation. As such, we do not purport to be the experts as to what is needed to improve the entire service system’s response to people with disability experiencing violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation. Instead, we fully endorse the submissions and recommendations of People With Disability Australia (PWDA), Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA). The focus of our submission and recommendations is on bringing the voices of victim-survivors and their domestic, family and sexual violence specialist advocates to the fore. People with disability experiencing violence and abuse deserve to have their stories told. They deserve to be able to input into decisions and reforms made on their behalf. People with disability experiencing violence and abuse deserve to have their voices heard in this Commission Inquiry. We hope this submission allows them to do just that.
While a Royal Commission has been launched to investigate the abuse and violence against individuals with disabilities, Women’s Safety NSW will highlight how victim-survivors with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by violence and abuse and not only by their partner but also by care-providers, whilst also experiencing additional barriers to achieving safety and support. Some recommendations are made herein for dismantling these additional barriers.
“Violence against women with disabilities is not isolated or infrequent. It occurs every day in every region, of every state/territory within Australia.” – People with Disability Australia
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, was established in April 2019 in response to growing community concern about widespread reports of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. The aim therefore of the Royal Commission is to better protect, and ultimately prevent people with disability from these harms, and promote a society which is inclusive and supportive of people with disability. This necessarily involves seeking to achieve best practice in reporting, investigating and responding to reports of this nature.
Women’s Safety NSW acknowledges the absolute necessity of victim-survivor led advocacy in policy and law reform. Without such lived experience, we believe it is impossible to enact reform that is relevant, effective and suitable. As such, we seek to bring the voices of victim-survivors with disability and their advocates directly to the commission so that their voices are heard, their experiences shared and their recommendations for reform are acknowledged and listened to.