Your Story Disability Legal Support update— Issue 8, October 2021

In this edition, we highlight the legal service we provide to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We also cover Your Story’s second birthday, our recent webinar on the Disability Royal Commission confidentiality amendments, and this month’s many upcoming events.

A message from our National Coordinator

Your Story Disability Legal Support is delivered in partnership with community-controlled Aboriginal legal services. These services are available to support First Nations people to share their stories.

We work in collaboration with the First Peoples Disability Network to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have access to justice and understand their human rights in a way that is meaningful and empowering. We also greatly value our work with the Disability Royal Commission’s First Nations Engagement Team and are committed to bringing the Royal Commission to the community through outreach and community legal education.

We are proud of our lawyers for their work supporting individuals and community to give evidence at the recent public hearing on the experiences of First Nations children with disability in out-of-home care. We commend all those who appeared as witnesses for their bravery and resilience, shedding light on systemic issues that Aboriginal people with disability can face.

If you or someone who care for identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and would like to share your story with the Disability Royal Commission, Your Story Disability Legal Support is here for you.

Please call 1800 77 1800 or go to our contact us page for other ways to reach us.

In solidarity,
Jake Lewis, National Coordinator (with National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services)

Your Story Disability Legal Support turns two

It’s been two years since we started delivering our service. In that time, our lawyers have provided over 4600 legal services, while our Infoline team has received nearly 4500 calls and website and email inquiries.

We have been privileged to support people like Lucy to safely share their story with the Disability Royal Commission:

Lucy (not her real name) lives with a vision impairment in a regional community. She wanted to tell her story to the Disability Royal Commission but did not feel she would be able to put together her submission independently. Lucy wasn’t comfortable going to local services because her community is small, and everyone knows each other. A lawyer from Your Story Disability Legal Support travelled to meet with Lucy in her area and assisted her to prepare an anonymous submission to the Royal Commission. Lucy expressed her gratitude to the lawyer for being mobile and flexible, and said she felt comfortable and supported.

Read full case study here.

Despite the challenges created by COVID-19, we have travelled extensively, from Katherine (NT) to King Island (Tas), Broome (WA) to Ballarat (Vic), Pormpuraaw (Qld) to Port Augusta (SA), Darwin (NT) to Dubbo (NSW), Alice Springs (NT) to Armidale (NSW), Melbourne (Vic) to Mossman (Qld), and everywhere in between, to deliver legal services and education in the community. Our work wouldn’t be possible without you. Thank you for helping to spread the word about our free legal support, to ensure everyone has the chance to share their story with the Disability Royal Commission. You can read more highlights from our first two years on our website.

Find out more about the confidentiality amendments

Our latest factsheet provides information about the recent amendments to the Royal Commission Act 1902 (Cth), which make it safer to give information to the Disability Royal Commission.

What do the confidentiality amendments mean for my client? explains what the changes are, how they apply and how we can help. Contact us on 1800 77 1800 for further advice on what the changes mean for you or your client.

Soon after the confidentiality amendments passed Parliament, Your Story hosted a webinar for disability advocates and other professionals to explain the changes. The webinar was well attended, with about 70 professionals from a range of organisations and locations tuning in to hear from Your Story solicitor Oliver Moore and senior solicitor Sifa Mtango.

If you missed out, you can watch the webinar recording on our YouTube channel.

Upcoming events

Friendly people at a table with Your Story brochuresExpo season is in full swing! We recently partnered with Lotus Support Services and Queensland Advocacy Incorporated to promote Disability Royal Commission support services with a stall (pictured above) and presentation at the 2021 Care Expo Brisbane.

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

7 October – Your Story to take part in virtual conference exploring the secret life of carers

Hosted by Carers NSW, the conference will explore new understandings about the carer journey, and showcase new and innovative initiatives in policy, programs and practice in meeting the needs of carers in NSW. Your Story will have a stall at the virtual conference, visit our website to find out more.

Toowoomba and Fraser Coast residents can learn more about the Disability Royal Commission and free supports available when the regions host the Regional Disability Expo. The Toowoomba expo will be on 8 October, followed by the Fraser Coast expo on 15 October.

9 October – Meet the Your Story team at the Kids and Youth Disability Expo in Adelaide

Your Story will be among over 120 disability providers exhibiting at the Kids and Youth Disability Expo in Adelaide on 9 October. For more information, visit our website.

14 October – Disability Royal Commission support services to exhibit at Adelaide expo

Your Story will be at the Disability, Ageing and Lifestyle Expo with local partners, Relationships Australia and Disability Advocacy and Complaints Service of South Australia Inc.

15 October – Disability Royal Commission support services to mark Mental Health Week in WA

Your Story Disability Legal Support will mark Mental Health Week with a stall at this free event for service providers and community leaders in WA.

25 October – Your Story’s Tasmania lawyer to visit Flinders Island

Your Story lawyer David will give a presentation on the Royal Commission and free supports available as part of a community legal education event on Flinders Island. For more information about the visit, see our website.

26 October - Disability discrimination in education: Webinar for advocates, community and support workers

People with disability often face multiple barriers to participating equally in educational settings such as school, TAFE or university. Hosted by Your Story Disability Legal Support and Legal Aid NSW’s Human Rights Group, this webinar is designed to help participants recognise common types of unlawful discrimination and offer some tips on what to do about it. Visit our website to register for this free webinar.

2-3 November – Meet Your Story’s Tasmania team at the 2021 TasCOSS Conference

Hosted by the Tasmanian Council of Social Service, the two-day conference will bring together Tasmania’s community services industry. Find how Your Story will be involved in the 2021 TasCOSS Conference.

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.

Disability Royal Commission news

Changes to public hearing 17: The health and safety of women and girls with disability

Due to ongoing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Commission has decided to split public hearing 17 into two parts. Part one will be held online on 13 and 14 October, and have a particular focus on family, domestic and sexual violence. Part two is expected to be held in Hobart, Tasmania, in March 2022 to allow witnesses to appear in person. Visit the Royal Commission’s website to view the public hearing schedule.

Royal Commission looks at overrepresentation of First Nations people in the child protection system

Focusing on the experiences of First Nations children with disability in out-of-home care, public hearing 16 was held online from 17 to 24 September. During the hearing, the Royal Commission investigated the overrepresentation of First Nations people with disability in out-of-home care, hearing from First Nations children and their families. Some of the witnesses who appeared at the hearing were supported by our service. You can read transcripts of the hearing as they become available on the Royal Commission’s website.

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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