First Nations input for the Disability Royal Commission
Friday 25 September
AbSec, through our work with Aboriginal children, families and communities, supports First Nations people with disabilities in improving their livelihoods and maintaining strong, culturally proficient relationships with any necessary service providers.
The Disability Royal Commission would like to hear from First Nations people about their experiences of disability. The Royal Commission is holding public hearings around the country to gather evidence about violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation of people with disability. In public hearings, witnesses give evidence about events and issues relevant to a particular topic.
Commissioner Andrea Mason is one of the Royal Commissioners, and oversees all work on issues impacting First Nations people and their communities. Lincoln Crowley QC will be Senior Counsel preparing and running all First Nations hearings.
The Royal Commission will hold a number of public hearings this November 2020 in Brisbane that will look at the experiences of First Nations people with disability and their family in contact with the child protection system. The focus of the hearing will be on the experiences of First Nations parents with disability whose children may have been taking into out-of-home care, and whether those parents are receiving the right supports.
The Royal Commission has also published an issues paper seeking views and perspectives on issues facing First Nations people with disability.
People’s direct experiences
The voices and stories of First Nations people with disability is central to the work of the Royal Commission and First Nations-specific public hearings.
It is so important the Royal Commission hear evidence directly from First Nations people with a disability of their stories about the child protection system. This helps the Royal Commission understand the impact of these issues on First Nations people with a disability, which can assist the Royal Commission to build a story about the problems faced, and make recommendations for change.
The Royal Commission is reaching out to community, including Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, to identify people who may be willing to share their experiences at a public hearing.
If you, as a worker or organization, have any clients who are parents with a disability that you think may be willing to talk to the Royal Commission about their experiences with the child protection system, please contact the team on the contact details below.
The Royal Commission legal team are hoping to receive this information in the next few weeks, to allow enough time for the information to be considered for the hearing in November. If people are not comfortable telling their story at a public hearing, the Royal Commission can also help them with other ways to share their story, including through making a submission or having a private session to tell their story to a Commissioner.
We know that coming forward to speak can be a difficult step. There are free internal and external support services available to help people who would like to tell their stories to the Royal Commission in a public hearing.
The Royal Commission has First Nations counsellors and engagement staff who can support people telling their stories. They can also communicate through a person’s lawyer or case worker if this would be preferable for them.
People can receive free and independent legal advice through the Your Story role, including from Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service or Legal Aid Queensland. Any person who is called to give evidence at a public hearing can be referred to the Legal Financial Assistance Scheme, which can enable a person to use their own lawyer, with financial assistance to do so from the Australia Government.
If you would like to talk to the Royal Commission about these issues, please contact: