Your Story Disability Legal Support update—Issue 16, August 2022

In this issue ...

A message from Will, our mobile lawyer

I’m privileged to be one of the lawyers on the Your Story mobile legal team supporting people with disability, as well as their families, friends, carers and advocates, to safely share their stories with the Disability Royal Commission.

One of the communities we’ve been working closely with is the Deafblind community, who have a unique perspective to offer the Disability Royal Commission and Australian society.

Last month, I travelled to Western Australia to assist with an event for people with lived experience of deafblindness in Perth. Held at The RISE in Maylands, ‘Sharing Deafblind stories and ideas for change’ was designed in a highly collaborative way with invaluable input from community members.

The day was a great success and would not have been possible without the tireless work of my Your Story colleagues in WA, supporting organisations SensesWA, Deafblind West Australians, Deaf Australia, Deafblind Australia, Relationships Australia WA, Karli Health Centre, and Midlas, and numerous Auslan and tactile interpreters.

With the assistance of these supporters, many members of the Deafblind community were able to access legal advice and share their stories with lawyers and advocates in a safe and confidential way.

Community members were given a range of options and ways to share their stories, including by video, spoken word, in writing, and through artistic expression. There was also a group submission publicly available for people to sign.

It was humbling to hear about the many challenges people with lived experience of deafblindness face, and to see so many turn out to share their stories and ideas for change in the hope of creating a more inclusive, just society.

Your Story is grateful to the Deafblind community of Perth and to all those who collaborated with us to make the event possible.

If you’re a member or a supporter of the Deafblind community, please don’t hesitate to contact us for free information and legal support. You might also be interested in this video in Auslan, which explains what the Disability Royal Commission is about and the free supports available.

With gratitude,
Will de Waal, mobile lawyer

Your Story in the community

On 28 July, Your Story attended the Tamworth Homeless Connect Day, where hundreds of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness were able to link in with service providers and access food, clothing, blankets and haircuts. Team members Silva Osaki and Georgina Davey spoke with many people who took the time to share their experiences and some of whom were looking for legal support with problems they were going through.

On 11 August, Newcastle residents came together to celebrate the local disability community and find out about the Disability Royal Commission and the free supports available. The stars of the show were drummers from Songbird's Drums Alive, a day program that combines movement and music to improve physical, emotional, and social health. NBN News covered the event, which Your Story delivered in partnership with Interrelate and Disability Advocacy NSW.

Your Story lawyer Amilee Myson (pictured right) with Edan Chapman from Deaf Australia and Midlas lawyer Rita Kleinfeld at the 11th National Deafblind Conference in Perth. The trio delivered an information session about the Disability Royal Commission at the event, which was held from 30 June to 1 July and aimed to bring together Deafblind people and organisations working to support the community.

Marking National Homelessness Week in NSW’s Mid North Coast

During National Homelessness Week (1-7 August), the Your Story team in NSW travelled across the Mid North Coast region to raise awareness about the Disability Royal Commission and the free supports available alongside our partners Disability Advocacy NSW and Interrelate.

We attended and delivered events in Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Taree, including a breakfast hosted by First Nations radio station OneMob Radio in Coffs Harbour.

Your Story lawyer Jack Anderson said the team heard about the difficulties experienced by people with disability in regional areas, especially those who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. “We hope that we can help give a voice to these communities so that the Royal Commission can get a fuller picture of the challenges people with disability face,” he said.

Keep reading to find out about an upcoming public hearing focused on homelessness.

Creating connections in the Kimberley

Your Story’s Aboriginal Legal Service team in WA, Saminder Kang and Bonina Challenor, travelled to the East Kimberley region earlier this month to deliver legal education about the Disability Royal Commission to local lawyers and support workers.

They also hosted a community event at Kununurra in partnership with the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, Legal Aid WA, Kimberley Community Legal Services, the Aboriginal Family Law Services and Ark Support Coordination. “It was a huge success with about 40-50 community members attending,” said Bonina (pictured second from left).

Divine dunnies and big bulls: Touring Queensland’s Fraser Coast

Earlier this month, Your Story team members Fiona McLean and Peter Im travelled to the Fraser Coast region to meet with the local disability community and supporters. The first stop was Rockhampton, where they delivered an information session to a local employment provider, with participants using a fictional character named ‘Joel’ to identify issues and solutions that could be shared with the Disability Royal Commission.

In Hervey Bay, the team hosted a stall at the Regional Disability Expo and delivered an information session alongside our partner Lotus Support Services. Then it was onto the neighbouring town of Maryborough, birthplace of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, for a final information session.

Fiona and Peter said the trip was a great opportunity to meet people in the area and hear about their experiences with the disability sector. “There was so much interest in our service that we ran out of all our brochures and merchandise by the time we finished all three events,” added Fiona.

The pair also had a chance to visit local attractions such as Maryborough’s famous Cistern Chapel toilets and the Mary Poppins-themed pedestrian crossing lights.

Upcoming events

29 August-2 September – Your Story to host drop-in legal clinics in WA’s Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions

Your Story will host drop-in legal clinics across WA’s Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions as part of a roadshow with People With disabilities WA and Explorability Inc. Community workshops will be held in Narrogin, Wagin, Katanning, Denmark and Kojonup, where local people with disability and their supporters will have a chance to ask questions about the Disability Royal Commission and share their ideas for making Australia safer and more inclusive.

30 August – Caring for carers: How to manage compassion fatigue

Learn how to identify and manage compassion fatigue and access free support to take part in the Disability Royal Commission at this free event for people in helping professions in the ACT hosted by Your Story Disability Legal Support and Relationships Australia Canberra & Region.

8 September – Join us at Disability Matters Shepparton!

Are you a person with disability, or a supporter, living in Shepparton, Victoria? Come along to this information session to find out how you can access free support to share your stories and ideas for making Australia safer and more inclusive of people with disability.

8 September – Meet the Disability Royal Commission support services at the Sunshine Coast Regional Disability Expo 

Your Story Disability Legal Support and Lotus Support Services will be at the Sunshine Coast Regional Disability Expo on 8 September. The expo is a free event for anyone wishing to find more information about disability services, activities and products in their region.

9 September – Join us at Disability Matters Bendigo!

Bendigo residents can find out about the Disability Royal Commission and the free supports available at this free event hosted by Your Story Disability Legal Support, Relationships Australia Victoria, Drummond Street Services, Rights Information and Advocacy Centre, and Leadership Plus. Light refreshments will be provided, along with information, demonstrations on how to share your story, onsite support, and the opportunity to book follow up appointments.

9 September – Free information session for people with disability and supporters on the Sunshine Coast

Are you a person with a disability or a supporter living on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast? You are invited to a free information session about the Disability Royal Commission and the free supports available to you. Visit our website for more information and to register.

12 and 15 September – Your Story to host multicultural community collaboration forum in Perth’s South East

Your Story, alongside City of Gosnells and the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services, will host an in-person and online gathering of multicultural community services and community leaders next month. Participants will have the chance to ask questions, share ideas and form partnerships to support people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to learn about and engage with the Disability Royal Commission in a safe way.

Royal Commission to hear from people with disability who’ve experienced homelessness

People with disability who have experienced homelessness will share their experiences with the Disability Royal Commission during a public hearing in Sydney next week. Public hearing 26 will be held from 29 August to 2 September at the Park Royal Hotel, 30 Phillip St, Parramatta.

The first part of the hearing will focus on people with disability in New South Wales and examine issues such as their experiences of homelessness, boarding houses, barriers to housing, and access to emergency accommodation and support after natural disasters.

The second part of the hearing will look at Supported Residential Services (SRS) in Victoria. These are privately operated businesses that provide accommodation and support for Victorians, many of whom have a disability. Witnesses will include residents and their families, and a proprietor of an SRS.

Your Story will have an information stall at the hearing, where people can meet local staff and find out about our free legal support. Visit the Royal Commission’s website to read more about public hearing 26.

Submission deadline reminder

A helpful reminder that the deadline to share your story with the Disability Royal Commission is 31 December. A submission can be in any language or format, including artwork, video and audio recordings, and be shared publicly or privately.

A lawyer from Your Story can discuss your options with you, give you free legal advice, support you to make a submission and connect you with other supports, including free counselling.

Our legal support is free, confidential, and available to anyone who needs it. Call us on 1800 77 1800 or visit our website for other ways to get in touch.

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