Second Royal Commission public hearing hears from people with disability and advocates about experiences in group homes

Early December the DRC held the second round of hearings in Melbourne with the focus on homes and living for people with disability in Victoria, particularly people in group homes.

The Royal commission heard from people with disability about their experience in group homes and from a number of experts and disability advocacy groups, including the Victorian Advocacy league for Individuals with Disability (VALiD), Victoria’s peak organisation representing adults with an intellectual disability and their families.

Victoria’s Disability Services Commissioner, representatives from Victoria’s Community Visitor Scheme, Department of Health and Human Services and the CEO of Yooralla, one of Victoria’s largest disability services providers, also gave evidence.

The key themes emerging form hearings included:

  • the need for people with disability to have the freedom to make their own choices about the way they wish to live to the extent necessary to be supported in their own decision-making;
  • the need for people with disability to be accorded the respect and dignity which is the entitlement of every Australian;
  • the need for the human rights of people with disability to be understood, respected and enforced;
  • the need to support the critical role played by advocates in achieving these goals, and the need to separate housing from sources of supports.

The Chair of the Royal commission, the Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC, acknowledged the hearings intended to not only expose abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation but to also provide insight for change by understanding and respecting the themes discussed.

“The public hearings conducted by the Royal Commission are intended to foster a greater understanding among the Australian community of the inherent dignity and worth of people with disability and of the rights which they, in common with all Australians, are entitled to enjoy to the full”, said Hon Sackville AO QC.

Here is a daily summary of the hearings or for more comprehensive summary please head to the DRC website.