‘Respectful Listening’ artwork and animated story by Wiradjuri Artist Uncle Paul Constable Calcott.
© Paul Constable Calcott 2020

‘Respectful Listening’ depicts the story of The Disability Royal Commission, translated into a traditional style of art and symbols used by many of Australia’s First Peoples to share information and stories for thousands of years. This story is made up of seven people who are respected and knowledgeable members of their own communities. These seven people, known as the Commissioners, come from different community groups including Australia’s First People, people living with disability and the LGBTIQ+ community. They are represented in the story using the symbol for Elder to show they are respected members of their own community. These commissioners will travel through many regions and communities over the next three years collecting stories and sharing information, shown as a message stick, from people who may have experienced violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Read the Disability Royal Commission’s Media Release ‘First Nations artist depicts Disability Royal Commission story’ here

What is a Royal Commission?

A Royal Commission is the highest form of public enquiry, independent of government, that looks closely at a widely reported problem or issue impacting on vulnerable groups.

The job of the Royal Commission is to gather stories and evidence from people with disability who are experiencing or have experienced violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and their witnesses. Royal Commissions make recommendations to government about what should change. The Royal Commission is for all people with disability.

violence abuse neglect and exploitation

 What does Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation mean?

  • Violence  If someone is hurting your body
  • Abuse  If someone is treating you badly
  • Neglect  If someone is not helping you the way they are supposed to help you
  • Exploitation  If someone is taking advantage of you

Who is in charge and makes decisions?

Six Commissioners have been appointed to run the Royal Commission to listen to stories and gather evidence. The Royal Commissioners are not part of the government. Our First Nations Commissioner is Andrea Mason, OAM, a Ngaanyatjarra and Kronie woman from Western Australia.

Sharing your story

Staying safe: The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of people with disability can trigger bad memories or feelings for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people with disability, their families, carers and communities.

If you tell your story to the Royal Commission your identity and story is confidential and can’t be shared with anyone without your permission.

If you feel scared, unsafe or just need someone to talk to there are free services that can support you with your Royal Commission journey. Your privacy and identity will be protected by these services. Click to find the right service for you below. 

Trauma and Counselling support services

Blue Knot Foundation Counselling and Referral Support phone 1800 421 468

Beyond Blue Support Service – phone 1300 224 636, webchat or email (24 hours/7 days) for free, immediate, short-term counselling, advice and referral services.

Beyond Blue immediate support

Lifeline Crisis Support – phone 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days) or chat to a crisis supporter online (7pm – midnight/7 nights). This is a confidential service providing you with support for when you feel overwhelmed, for when you have difficulty coping, or are thinking about suicide.

1800Respect – phone 1800 737 732 Open 24 hours to support people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse

Relationships Australia

Disability Royal Commission Counselling Services

To access a Relationships Australia service near you, please find details below:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Relationships Australia Canberra and Region provides services in ACT and surrounding region.
Website: CLICK HERE
Phone: 02 6122 7100
Email: [email protected]

New South Wales (NSW)
Relationships Australia New South Wales provides services in NSW.
Website: CLICK HERE
Phone: (02)  9418 8800
Email: [email protected]

Victoria (VIC)
Relationships Australia Victoria provides services in VIC.
Website: CLICK HERE
Phone: 1 800 317 387
Email: [email protected]

Tasmania (TAS)
Relationships Australia Tasmania provides services in TAS.
Website: CLICK HERE
Phone: 1300 364 277

South Australia (SA)
Relationships Australia South Australia provides services in SA.
Website: CLICK HERE
Phone: 1 800 577 571
Email: [email protected]

Western Australia (WA)
Relationships Australia Western Australia provides services in WA.
Website: CLICK HERE
Phone: 08 6164 0180
Email: [email protected]

Northern Territory (NT)
Relationships Australia Northern Territory provides services in NT.
Website: CLICK HERE
Phone:
Darwin: (08) 8923 4999
Alice Springs: (08) 8950 4100
Email: [email protected]

If you have difficulty hearing or speaking

If you find it difficult to hear or speak you can contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS). Please phone 133 677.

Other Languages

If you require support in another language, including Indigenous languages, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) free of charge on 131 450 and ask to be connected to the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468.

Find an advocate to help you

If you think you might want to tell your story to the Royal Commission but need advice or support, you have the right to talk to someone about it first and decide if you want to participate. These services can help you to tell your story. Find an advocate to help near you.

find an advocate

I want to tell my story to the Royal Commission

There are a few different ways you can tell your story to the Royal Commission. You have the right to be supported by a family member, friend or someone you trust.

A Royal Commission Counselling and Support team are available to help you with counselling and support at all community forums, public hearings or private sessions,

You can share your story in your first language, including Indigenous languages and Auslan.

Find more information below.

Sharing your story

If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) person with a disability, and you have experienced violence, abuse neglect or exploitation, the Royal Commission would like to hear from you. We also want to hear from families, friends, and support people of First Nations people with disability.

Information for First Nations People

Make your submission

You can make a submission in writing, over the phone, in a video or audio recording.

Make your submission now

Private Session

You can tell your story in a private session with a Commissioner. You can ask to speak privately with our First Nations Commissioner Andrea Mason.

Factsheet
Apply for a private session

Get help with your submission

If you think you might want to tell your story to the Royal Commission but need advice or support, you have the right to talk to someone about it first and decide if you want to participate. These services can help you to tell your story. Find an advocate to help near you.

Find an advocate
I’m in an unsafe situation and I need help: If you are currently experiencing any form of violence or abuse, or are concerned for your safety call Emergency Services on 000

Your rights and who can help

If you think you might want to tell your story to the Royal Commission but need advice or support, you have the right to talk to someone about it first and decide if you want to participate. These services can help you to tell your story. Find an advocate to help near you.

FIND an advocate

Free Legal Help

Your Story Disability Legal Support
Helpline: 1800 771 800
Website: yourstorydisabilitylegal.org.au

The community-controlled Aboriginal Legal Services and Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service are all delivering Your Story Disability Legal Support as part of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services. They are run by, and for, Aboriginal communities.

Find out more

News

Keep up to date on the latest news from the Disability Royal Commission

Latest News

Hearings & Events

Find out when the public hearings and community forums will take place.

find out more

Forums

Do you have questions? Share your thoughts and views with the community in our live forums
(*your identity will remain private)

VISIT THE FORUMS

Something Stronger: Truth-telling on hurt and loss, strength and healing, from First Nations people with disability research report
Dr Scott Avery


Read the report

Something Stronger has also been translated in 3 First Nations languages

Listen in Djambarrpuynu Yolngu Matha:

Listen in Warlpiri:

Listen to in Kimberley Kriol:

The Disability Royal Commission (DRC) held their first hearing specific to First Nations people on Monday, 23 November 2020 to Friday, 27 November 2020 to inquire, gather evidence, and respond to key concerns on the experiences of First Nations people with disability and their families in contact with child protection systems.
FPDN made a video submission to the Royal Commission for this hearing. Click play on the video above to check out our submisson.

News from the Royal Commission

Media Release: Urgent DRC extension needed to stop violence and abuse

| News, Royal Commission | No Comments
The crisis of violence and abuse of First Peoples with disability must be urgently addressed by an extension of the Disability Royal Commission. “I am very concerned that the full…

Advocates call for greater focus on Indigenous people with disability in detention

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 14 times more likely to be imprisoned than the non-Indigenous population  The disability royal commission needs a dedicated First Nations hearing to investigate…

Media Release: The overrepresentation of First Nations People with cognitive disability in the criminal justice system warrants own Disability Royal Commission Hearing

| News, Royal Commission | No Comments
16 February 2021 Media Release The overrepresentation of First Nations People with cognitive disability in the criminal justice system warrants own Disability Royal Commission Hearing   People with cognitive disability…

June Riemer joins 3CR radio to discuss the Disability Royal Commission from a First Nations perspective

| News, Royal Commission | No Comments
FPDN Deputy CEO June Riemer joined 3CR Community Radio this morning to discuss the Disability Royal Commission from a First Nations perspective, focusing on the intersection between disability and child…