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 extension to the Disability Royal Commission has not yet been granted, and I urge Prime Minister Scott Morrison to intervene now,” said Damian Griffis, CEO, First Peoples Disability Network.
“We wrote to the acting Attorney-General Senator Cash two weeks ago, outlining why our communities have not had anywhere near enough time to talk about violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability. In Senate Estimates last night, the Disability Royal Commission confirmed that they would need no further resources to manage the extension, clearing any remaining hurdles to getting this done.”
“COVID-19 had a major impact on the work of the Disability Royal Commission Commission, and has caused many delays in reaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. Our stories are crucial for the Commission’s work, and essential if we are going to start to reduce the toll of violence against us,” said Mr Griffis.
“The terms of reference for the Disability Royal Commission specifically ask them to look at the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. We have asked the Commission to hold more public hearings specifically looking at First Nations issues, such as the over-representation and indefinite detention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability in the criminal justice system, and they need time to get that work done.”
“At a time when the whole Australian community is reckoning with violence against women, it is outrageous that the needs of First Peoples women and girls with disability are being ignored,” said Mr Griffis.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as likely to have disability than other Australians. Aboriginal women are 35 times more likely to suffer family violence and 80 times more likely to sustain serious injury requiring hospitalisation, and 10 times more likely to die due to family violence, than non-Aboriginal women.
“The Disability Royal Commission was set up specifically to look at how to prevent violence and abuse of people with disability, and it needs time to do that work.”
“The Commission also needs more time to properly hear from a wide range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from around Australia, about their experiences, as well as their expertise about how to stop violence and abuse against people with disability.”