Newsletter issue 7 September 2021

In this edition, we cover the new privacy protections for Disability Royal Commission participants, our social media launch, upcoming events and public hearings, and more.

Message from our Director

We’re excited to share that it’s safer for people to tell their story to the Disability Royal Commission.

Last week, Federal Parliament voted to improve protections for people giving confidential information to the Disability Royal Commission. What this means is stories of harm or other mistreatment can be protected – not just during the Royal Commission but into the future.

Read our response to the passing of the confidentiality amendments.

Previously, these stories had the potential to be accessed through Freedom of Information requests when the inquiry ends in September 2023. This has been a concern for many of the people accessing our free, independent legal support.

Now, people with disability and their supporters can safely and confidently share sensitive stories knowing they will be protected beyond the life of the Royal Commission.

Next week, we will host a webinar for disability advocates and other professionals, where our lawyers Oliver and Sifa will explain in more detail what the changes are, what they mean for clients, and how Your Story Disability Legal Support can help.

The webinar will run from 11.30am to 12.30pm AEST on Tuesday 14 September. Register today to secure your place at the webinar.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Kind regards,
Susannah O'Reilly, Director

Your Story is on social media – help us spread the word!

Last month, we launched new social media pages to raise awareness of our service and the Disability Royal Commission and to stay better connected with the disability community and you, our supporters.

You can now find us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. With your support, we reached thousands of social media users in the first two days, which resulted in calls to our Infoline from people interested in sharing their story with the Disability Royal Commission.

Do you know someone who could benefit from our free, independent legal support? Help us spread the word by sharing on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Find out more about private sessions

A private session is a way to share your story in a confidential meeting with a commissioner from the Disability Royal Commission. Two of our most popular factsheets provide more information about how private sessions work and the legal protections they offer.

How am I protected in a private session? explains the legal protections private sessions offer and what happens if someone breaches these.

What happens to my story after a private session? explains what happens after a private session and where you can get further support.

Upcoming events

September promises to be a busy month with webinars, expos and community events happening across the country. Visit the new events section on our website to view all of our upcoming events or see some highlights below.

6-10 September – Your Story is headed to the Pilbara

Pilbara residents can find out more about the Disability Royal Commission and free supports available when Your Story visits the Pilbara region this week. For more information, visit our website.

9 September – Disability online forum for Greater Sydney residents

Are you looking for services for multicultural communities in Greater Sydney? Come along tomorrow and ask questions to the panel! To register for this free online forum, visit our website.

10-11 September – Your Story and partners to exhibit at Source Kids Disability Expo Perth

Perth residents can find out how they can get free counselling, advocacy and legal support to share their story with the Disability Royal Commission at the 2021 Source Kids Disability Expo in Perth. For more information, visit our website.

14 September – Confidentiality amendments: Webinar for advocates and professionals

Do you support a person with disability? Join this webinar hosted by Your Story Disability Legal Support to find out more about the confidentiality amendments, how they apply and what they mean for clients. Register today to secure your place at the webinar.

15 September – Meet Your Story’s Tasmania team at the Speak Out Disability Expo in Launceston

Launceston residents can meet Your Story’s Tasmania team and learn more the Disability Royal Commission and the free supports available at the Speak Out Disability Expo in Launceston in September. Visit our website to find out more.

17-18 September – Royal Commission support services exhibiting at the 2021 Care Expo Brisbane

Brisbane residents can find out how they can get free counselling, advocacy and legal support to share their story with the Disability Royal Commission at the 2021 Care Expo Brisbane in September. For more information, visit our website.

If you’d like to arrange an information session with Your Story, or partner with us on an event, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with our Stakeholder Relations Manager Fiona today.

Event recap: WWDA youth information session

How can feminine-identifying and non-binary people feel encouraged to share their story with the Disability Royal Commission? This important question was raised during a recent event for young people hosted by Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA).

Josie, one of our two lawyers presenting at the event, said:

“I felt privileged to be invited and listen to issues young woman with disability are thinking about, particularly leading up to Royal Commission’s hearing into women’s safety.”

The Q&A from this event is expected to be available on the WWDA website later this month. A public hearing on the health and safety of women and girls with disability is scheduled to take place from 13-19 October in Hobart, Tasmania.

Disability Royal Commission news

Why do some people abuse people with disability?

A report commissioned by the Disability Royal Commission has found people with disability are more likely than others to experience all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. However, researchers also identified a knowledge gap when it comes to understanding why some members of society cause harm to people with disability, and the systemic factors that enable this to happen. Read more about the rapid evidence review.

Public hearings update

COVID-19 restrictions continue to impact public hearings. Public hearing 16, which was scheduled to take place in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, will now be held online and streamed live on the Royal Commission’s website from 17-24 September.

This public hearing will focus on First Nations children with disability in out-of-home care and is the second public hearing specifically examining the experiences of First Nations people with disability. Read more about the scope and purpose of public hearing 16.

The Royal Commission is scheduled to hold two other virtual hearings this month, on 10 and 30 September. These will examine violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in disability services. To view the public hearing schedule, visit the Royal Commission’s website.

Last month, at a public hearing in Brisbane, the Royal Commission heard evidence about how people with disability can become enmeshed in the criminal justice system. You can read a summary of the public hearing in edition 33 of the Royal Commission’s newsletter, Connect.

Public hearings are just one way to share a story with the Disability Royal Commission. Contact Your Story Disability Legal Support on 1800 77 1800 to discuss your options.

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