Disability Royal Commission begins its third public hearing

The Disability Royal Commission officially began the third public hearing on Tuesday 18th February in Western Sydney and will run over the next two weeks.

The hearing will investigate the access to and treatment of people with cognitive disability, including people with intellectual disability, autism and acquired brain injury, in the health system.

Over the two week hearing the Royal Commission will hear directly from people with cognitive disability and about their experiences in the health system.

‘We will also hear from parents of people with intellectual disability, including some who have tragically lost loved ones.

‘Medical practitioners, experts and advocacy groups, as well as governments departments will also give evidence,’ said the Chair.

At the request of a number of witnesses, the Royal Commission held a closed familiarisation session to help witnesses feel comfortable and familiar with the hearing room.

The Royal Commission take very seriously their responsibility to make the Royal Commission hearings as accessible as possible. The have taken steps to minimise the physical barriers for witnesses in the hearing room. They have made adjustments to the rooms to better meet the needs of the witnesses.

‘It is critical to the success of the Royal Commission that people with disability are able to share their experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation safely and that they receive a full range of supports, before, during and after giving evidence,’ said the Chair.

Over two weeks, the hearing will explore:

  • The extent to which people with intellectual disability disproportionately experience significant health problems
  • Barriers faced by people with cognitive disability when accessing and receiving health care and services, including barriers to communication and health professionals’ attitudes, values and assumptions
  • Training and education of health professionals with respect to patients with cognitive disability
  • Delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses of people with cognitive disability
  • Diminished life expectancy of people with cognitive disability
  • Specific issues for First Nations people with cognitive disability with respect to health care and services

Evidence to be given at the hearing suggest that more than half a million Australian live with an intellectual disability and over 60% of this group experience profound or severe impairments in the core activities of daily living.

If you require advice of assistance during this time, please try these services:

Blue Knot Foundation: call 1800 421 468

The Disability Royal Commission Legal Service: call 1800 771 800

Advocacy Services: go to National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP)

You can find more information on the Scope website or the Disability Royal Commission website.


Updated 19/02/2020