Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

In 2019, the Australian Federal Government announced that they would be conducting a Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability –  also known as the Disability Royal Commission (DRC).

In 2015, a Senate inquiry found widespread rates of violence and abuse against people with disability, and strongly recommended holding a Royal Commission. Then in 2017, over 100 academics and over 160 civil society groups, including Women With Disabilities Australia, joined the call for a Royal Commission into violence against people with disability. After years of campaigning, this call was successful.

At WWDA we want to see people with disabilities at the centre of the royal commission and we will continue to provide information and updates on this page.

Key terms you should know

Violence and abuse refers to all forms of assault, sexual assault, physical restrictive practices, chemical restraints, forced treatments, humiliation and harassment, financial and economic abuse and violations of privacy and rights.

Neglect refers to when someone denies another person things they need, including physical and emotional supports. This can be things like food, drink, housing, clothes education, psychological and medical care.

Exploitation refers to taking advantage of another person for your own benefit. It includes things like forced prostitution and trafficking, as well as workforce labour without fair pay. It also includes someone using another person’s assets or resources for their own advantage.

How to take part in the Royal Commission

If you are an Australian woman or girl with disability and have experienced any form of violence, abuse, neglect and/or exploitation, you can tell your story to the Royal Commission.

Public Hearings

Public hearings are formal proceedings in which witnesses give evidence, about events and issues experienced by people with disability.

All public hearings of the Royal Commission are recorded and streamed live on the Royal Commission website. Every public hearing will have live captioning and Auslan-English interpreters.

You can find details about the dates and locations of hearings on the Royal Commission website.


One of the main ways the Commission will receive information about violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of people with disability is through submissions. Submissions can be made by both individuals and organisations.

You can make a submission in writing, or through a video or audio recording. All languages are accepted. To make a written submission, you can download a form from the Royal Commission website. Forms are available in Plain English and Easy Read.

You can also make a submission by calling the Commission on 1800 517 199 or (07) 3734 1900 or by sending the Commission an email at 

If you are worried about your identity or the information you have provided being shared after the Royal Commission has ended, you may be able to tell your story with a Commissioner in a private session with a Commissioner.

To find our more about sharing your story head to the Disability Royal Commission website here.

Support Services

The Royal Commission offers a range of services to support you to take part in the Royal Commission. Head to the Disability Royal Commission website for information on the below support services:

WWDA Work on the DRC

WWDA will continue to play a crucial role in all aspects of the Royal Commission. Please see below previous responses, submissions and reports:

News and Media

WWDA will continue to post any news in our latest news section and on our social media channels. Follow WWDA: