Scope welcomes the Royal Commission

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (DRC or Royal Commission) was established in mid-2019 by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments.

Scope welcomes the establishment of the Royal Commission because we regard it as another development that helps to advance the rights of people with disability. It is consistent with our own mission to enable each person we support to live as an empowered and equal citizen.

Our approach to the Royal Commission will be consistent with the Scope approach, and our values: See the Person, Do it Together, Do it Right and Do it Better. We will be open, honest, cooperative and assist our customers and their families, staff, donors and members to access support throughout this process.

Here is some information about the Royal Commission

The DRC has been busy establishing itself behind the scenes. It has also conducted a series of workshops with disability advocates and legal representatives. Scope has been represented at a number of those forums.

The scope of this Royal Commission is set out in the Terms of Reference signed on 4 April 2019.

The Terms of Reference is a list of things the Commissioners will look at during the Royal Commission.

The Commissioners have been directed to inquire into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. The Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference cover what should be done to:

  • prevent, and better protect, people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation;
  • achieve best practice in reporting and investigating of, and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and 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 exploitation.

The inquiry will cover all forms of violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability, in all settings and contexts. The Royal Commission has defined these terms as follows:

  • violence and abuse include assault, sexual assault, constraints, restrictive practices (both 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 willful 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 means 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.

The Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC has been appointed as Chair of the Royal Commission.

Mr Sackville will be supported by six other Commissioners:

  • The Hon Roslyn Atkinson AO
  • Ms Barbara Bennett PSM
  • Dr Rhonda Galbally AC
  • Ms Andrea Mason OAM
  • Mr Alastair McEwin AM
  • The Hon John Ryan AM

More information about each of the Commissioners is available on the Royal Commission website.

The Royal Commissioners are required to provide an interim report to the Governor-General by no later than 30 October 2020, and a final report by no later than 29 April 2022.

In August 2019, the Royal Commission announced that it is now receiving submissions.

Anyone is able to make a submission as long as it relates to the DRC’s Terms of Reference. The Royal Commission has provided details about the submission process and the support available to make it as easy as possible; see the link here.

The Royal Commission is interested to hear from people about their experiences, particularly where violence and abuse, neglect, and exploitation were involved. It is also interested to hear about best practice and innovations in the disability sector

Customers and their families are encouraged to make a submission and if they need support to do so we will assist customers to access such support. In the first instance feel free to access the support services facilitated by the Royal Commission (see here).

Scope takes the DRC seriously and has prepared itself to engage professionally with the Royal Commission. Scope has established an Independent Advisory Committee of the Board (IAC) and Project Steering Committee (Steering Committee) comprising Scope staff. A project team has also been established to lead all activities and sits within the Improvement, Innovation and Customer Experience Division.

The project team is coordinating and managing Scope’s response to the Commission and to ensure that our staff, including Home@Scope seconded staff, are kept up to date and supported over the duration of the Commission, The project team will also be working with the rest of the organisation to ensure any early opportunities to improve the support we provide to our customers is implemented.

The voice and experience of the customer is central to Scope’s approach to the Royal Commission. Scope has received many questions from customers and staff seeking to understand how people will be supported to make a submission. Scope is supportive of customers who need the opportunity to tell their story, however, it’s important that submissions are made independently of Scope.

The Royal Commission has established support processes for people seeking help to make a submission or other forms of support, including independent advocacy.

Information in Plain and Easy English is available on the Royal Commission website.

Scope is committed to keeping its staff, customers, families and other stakeholders updated as to the Royal Commission and interested parties should consult this page and the Royal Commission itself for updates.