The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has suspended public hearings, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC said after careful consideration, the Commission has postponed the following hearings;
-Education scheduled for next week in Brisbane, Queensland,
-Justice scheduled for April in Brisbane, Queensland
-First Nations People with disability scheduled for May in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
‘The Commission has suspended all other public events until further notice.
‘We had already decided to postpone community forums that were to be held in Tasmania this week.
‘Face to face private sessions have also been suspended for the time being.
‘The Commission’s over-riding responsibility is to protect, as far as possible, the health and safety of people with disability, members of staff (who include people with disability) and the community at large.
‘The Commission has decided that these measures are necessary in view of the risks to health, especially to people with disability who are often particularly vulnerable to infections,’ said the Chair.
The Royal Commission has been contacting all those directly affected, such as witnesses and people who have registered for community forums, to inform them of the decision.
The Commission is considering the implications of this situation for its timetable.
‘There is a great deal of important work that can and will continue despite the postponement of some of the Royal Commission’s activities. For example, Issues Papers will still be published and preparations for future hearings will progress.
‘People can continue to tell the Royal Commission about their experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. They can do this in any way they choose, by phone, in writing or by making an audio or video recording.
‘We will continue to provide regular updates on our website, our newsletter and on our social media channels,’ said the Chair.