Disability Royal Commission Public Hearing 14 announced: What has been learnt since Ann-Marie Smith’s death to help protect other people with disability

31 May 2021

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will hold its fourteenth public hearing in Adelaide from 7-11 June at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

It will be the second in a series of Royal Commission hearings to examine how disability service providers prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

The Royal Commission will focus on evidence relating to two case studies regarding the experiences of people with disability using supported accommodation services provided by the South Australian Department of Human Services.

The Royal Commission will also examine what has been learned since Ann-Marie Smith’s death to help protect other people with disability. While criminal and coronial investigations are ongoing, there have been two major reports which have examined the circumstances surrounding the death of Adelaide woman, Ann-Marie Smith, on 6 April 2020.

Ms Smith lived with cerebral palsy and at the time of her death was found to be suffering among other things, septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe pressure sores and malnutrition.

In Public hearing 14 the Royal Commission will look at how the South Australian and Commonwealth governments, including the National Disability Insurance Agency and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission, have responded to these past reports and their recommendations.

The Chair of the Royal Commission, the Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC, has explained in previous hearings how the living arrangements experienced by people with disability are a key area of inquiry for the Royal Commission.

‘Evidence from people with lived experience of disability is designed not only to tell their individual stories but to use those stories to identify the policy and regulatory issues that the Royal Commission must address…”

Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission for Public hearing 14 is Kate Eastman SC.

Media and members of the public will be welcome to attend this public hearing. This subject to change depending on COVID-19 health advice.

The hearing will be livestreamed on the Disability Royal Commission’s website and include live captioning and Auslan-English interpreters.

For further information, please visit the Disability Royal Commission website.