For people with disability

Disclaimer: This information is intended as a general guide. It should not be relied on as legal advice and we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about your particular situation.

Can I get legal support to engage with the Disability Royal Commission?

Yes. Your Story Disability Legal Support provides free legal support to empower people to share their story with the Disability Royal Commission. Our legal support is independent of the Disability Royal Commission.  We won’t share any information unless you give us permission.

Our service is available across Australia. We have staff located in every state and territory. Our staff are trained to provide culturally safe and trauma informed services.

You can look at our guide about ideas for preparing your submission to start planning and preparing your submission.

Call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us.

How can I share my story with the Disability Royal Commission?

You can share your story by:

Most people share their story by making a submission.

What is a submission?

A submission is a record of your story. It can be made in any language (including Auslan) and it can be recorded using words, pictures, video or audio.

Your Story Disability Legal Support can provide you legal support and advice to prepare your submission. Call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. 

You can also look at our guide about ideas for preparing your submission for ideas to start planning and preparing your submission.

For more information about making a submission to the Disability Royal Commission visit their website

How do I register for a private session?

Private session registration closed in June. The Disability Royal Commission is encouraging anyone who registered for a private session to consider making a submission due to the high volume of private session requests it has received.

You may wish to consider making a submission instead, which can be in any language or format.

If you’re waiting for your private session to be scheduled, call us on 1800 77 1800, or visit our website for other ways to get in touch.

We can discuss your options with you, give you free legal advice and support you to make a submission by 31 December.

How can I make a submission?

There are four (4) ways you can make a submission to the Disability Royal Commission.

  1. Online
  2. By phone: 1800 517 199 (9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday excluding national public holidays)
  3. By email: DRCenquiries@royalcommission.gov.au
  4. By post: GPO Box 1422, Brisbane QLD 4001

Your submission can be in any language or format. It can be:

  • In writing
  • An image
  • An artwork
  • An audio clip
  • A video clip

You can attach an image, artwork, audio clip or video clip to the online form or send it by email or post.

The Disability Royal Commission has different submission forms available for download. You do not have to use these forms if you do not want to.

You can look at our guide about ideas for preparing your submission to start planning and preparing your submission.

Am I allowed to name organisations or people in a submission to the Disability Royal Commission?

It is your choice if you want to use the name of an organisation or a person in a submission to the Disability Royal Commission. But there are risks.

If you are naming a person or organisation, they may get upset about what you have said. They might say it has caused damage to them. They might even threaten to take you to court for what you have said if they hear about it. This is defamation.

To reduce the risk of this happening, it is important that if you want to use the name of an organisation or a person you:

  • Make sure your story is truthful
  • Be as clear as possible about the facts as you remember them
  • Do not repeat the story you share with the Disability Royal Commission to other people, including on social media.

You can look at our “Can I name names?” factsheet for more information.

Your Story Disability Legal Support can answer your questions about using the names of a person or organisation when sharing your story with the Disability Royal Commission. Call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. 

When do I have to have my submission in by?

The Royal Commission is taking submissions until 31 December 2022 and will deliver its final report to government by 29 September 2023.

The Royal Commission recently announced additional closing dates for submissions. The closing dates are:

  • Electronic submissions (via email or web form) – to be submitted by 31 December 2022
  • Hard copy submissions – to be postmarked no later than 31 December 2022
  • Phone submissions – to be completed by 23 December 2022
  • Submissions in Auslan to a Royal Commission staff member – to be booked by 12 December 2022

Your Story will be here to support you to share your story right up to 31 December 2022. Read more about the closing dates and our opening hours over the festive period.

You can make a submission about an issue after the public hearing on that issue has completed. 

It can take some time for a person to feel ready and be able to share their story with the Royal Commission. If you are interested in sharing your story, please call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. 

Can somebody help me with my submission?

Your Story Disability Legal Support can provide you with legal support and advice to prepare your submission. We can also connect you with disability advocates or you can find  them using the map on the Department of Social Service website  

You can also look at our guide about ideas for preparing your submission for ideas to start planning and preparing your submission.

If you want to speak to us about getting help with your submission call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call ) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. 

How can I be a witness at a Public Hearing?

You can let the Disability Royal Commission know you would like to share your story at a public hearing.  This means you ask to share your story in person to the Disability Royal Commission and others in a public hearing.

The Disability Royal Commission needs to invite you to be a witness. Not everyone who asks to be a witness will be invited by the Disability Royal Commission.

If you are invited to be a witness at a public hearing the Disability Royal Commission may ask questions about your story during the hearing. 

Do I need legal support to engage with the Disability Royal Commission?

Not everyone will need legal advice to share their story with the Disability Royal Commission. But if there is something you are worried about; our service can give you free, independent legal advice to support you protect your rights and share your story.

Some of the things Your Story Disability Legal Support can provide legal advice about include: 

  • using the name of an organisation or person in your story
  • how to keep your story private
  • what to do if you have a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement that stops you from sharing your story
  • what to do if you are concerned about payback if you share your story
  • what to do if you are worried about sharing your story because you or someone else will be unsafe, lose access to services or employment or your rights will be affected.

Our legal advice is provided by:

  • lawyers from Legal Aid Commissions
  • lawyers from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. 

Speaking to a lawyer does not mean you are in trouble. Our service will not pass your information to the Disability Royal Commission unless you agree. We won’t tell anybody what you tell us, unless you want us to.

You can look at our “Legal support to engage with the DRC” factsheet found under our Factsheets tab for further information.

Call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. 

How can I keep my submission confidential?

If you ask to keep your submission private, the Disability Royal Commission will keep it confidential. It will also stay confidential after the end of the Disability Royal Commission.

The Disability Royal Commission can publish your submission on its website or in its report without naming or identifying you. If you don’t want this to happen you should let the Disability Royal Commission know in your submission.

Your Story Disability Legal Support can give you advice about confidentiality and ways you can keep all, or parts, of your submission private. Call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. 

Can I share my story if someone else makes decisions for me?

Yes, you can.

If someone else has been appointed to make decisions for you, you can still share your story directly with the Disability Royal Commission.

If a court said you can’t give evidence in a legal case in the past, you can still share your story with the Disability Royal Commission.

The Disability Royal Commission wants to hear your story if you are a person with disability and have been hurt, treated badly, refused help or taken advantage of.

People, including disability advocates, lawyers from Your Story Disability Legal Support or staff at the Disability Royal Commission, can support you in different ways to share your story.

You can look at our factsheet about Can I share my story? for further general information.

Call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. 

Will I get in trouble for sharing a story?

The Disability Royal Commission wants to hear your story if you, or someone you know has been hurt, treated badly, refused help or taken advantage of.

You might have a story to share about what you have seen at the place:

  • you live
  • you work
  • you volunteer

You might be worried about sharing your story with the Disability Royal Commission because:

  • you think the person in authority (for example, your boss or staff at a care facility) may not want you to share your story with the Disability Royal Commission
  • you think you or another person might be unsafe/treated badly if you share your story
  • you have signed legal documents that say you can’t tell outsiders about your work or what you have seen.

Your Story Disability Legal Support can give you advice about the different ways you can protect yourself or protect someone else.

You can look at our factsheet Will I get in trouble? for further general information.

Call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. 

How do I keep safe?

Your safety and security are important. The Disability Royal Commission can work with you to protect you if you have been, or are being, hurt or treated badly and you want to share your story.

Your Story Disability Legal Support can give you legal advice about safe ways to share your story with the Disability Royal Commission. We can support you to:

  • share your story without giving your name or contact details; or
  • share your story privately.

Call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. 

What happens after I share my story with the Disability Royal Commission?

Royal Commissions make recommendations to government about what should change to improve our society. 

The Disability Royal Commission is due to deliver a final report to the Australian Government by September 2023. In this report, the Disability Royal Commission will recommend how to improve laws, policies, structures and practices to ensure a more inclusive and just society for people with disability.

When you share your story with the Disability Royal Commission, they may use that information to help inform the recommendations for change. If you agree, your story might be included in the Disability Royal Commission’s reports or published on its website.  You can request your details remain private if the Disability Royal Commission publishes your story.

You can look at our factsheet about What happens after I share my story at a private session? for further general information. 

What will the Disability Royal Commission do to address my abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation?

The Disability Royal Commission will make recommendations in its report however it is then up to governments to decide to follow up on these recommendations. These recommendations about what should change to improve our society are likely to look at broad issues. The Disability Royal Commission will not make recommendations that only relate to you and your story.

There may be a rare occasion where the Disability Royal Commission could pass on information to other investigating organisations, like the police.  Those organisations then make the decision about whether they carry out an investigation. 

If you believe a crime has been committed, you should report this directly to your local police.

If you would like advice about whether there are other legal options outside the Disability Royal Commission in relation to the violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation you have experienced, you can call 1800 77 1800 Monday to Friday (free call) or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us. We will try and refer you to an appropriate lawyer for this advice.

Why do you ask for my personal details (e.g. age, gender, location)?

We collect personal information from you to:

  • give you an accessible legal service
  • make sure our service is accountable
  • plan and report on our services.

We use and store this information in line with privacy legislation. You can apply to access and correct the information we hold about you.

Your Story Disability Legal Support gives free legal help. We are independent and separate from the Disability Royal Commission. We will not pass your information to the Disability Royal Commission unless you agree.

We ask for some information to plan and report on our service. This includes:

  • the state or territory in which you live
  • your Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status
  • your cultural background and other languages
  • the nature of disability.

We will only share this information after removing identifying details. 

Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new form of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. 

Where you get up-to-date information about COVID-19, and the Government response to COVID-19, will depend on what information you need and where you live in Australia. 

The websites below have information about COVID-19 for the disability community and also include phone numbers you can call for more specific information and support. 

Getting information about the Coronavirus on the phone or through a website is safer than getting information face-to-face.

If you are feeling sick and you are worried it might be related to COVID-19, there is a national 24/7 hotline 1800 020 080.  Alternatively, call your local GP or hospital. 

National Relay Service can be contacted on 1300 555 727 if you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment.

For translating or interpreting services call 131 450.

Disclaimer: This information is intended as a general guide. It should not be relied on as legal advice and we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about your particular situation.