Media Release: Royal Commission Welcome, But Must Include People with Disability

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) welcome today’s announcement of a Royal Commission into Aged Care, with the inclusion of young people with disability who live in nursing homes. This is a critical opportunity for the many thousands of older people with disability to have their voices heard and obtain justice for the violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect they have experienced.

Unfortunately, there are many more thousands of people with disability who will be dismayed that our ongoing calls for a Royal Commission into violence and abuse against all people with disability have been ignored.

Therese Sands, DPO Australia spokesperson, said: “We have been calling for a Royal Commission into violence and abuse of all people with disability, including in aged care, for over five years. In 2015, a Senate inquiry found widespread and prolific rates of violence and abuse against people with disability, and its key recommendation was the establishment of a Royal Commission.”

“In 2017, over 160 civil society groups and over 100 academics joined our call for a Royal Commission into violence against all people with disability. The Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens have also supported our call to ensure that people with disability get a chance to speak out and get justice.”

“Over the past five years, the ABC, through two Four Corners episodes and a Lateline report, has exposed disturbing evidence of the extensive patterns of violence and abuse experienced by people with disability.  We are extremely concerned that none of these reports has warranted the same speedy response by the Australian Government through a Royal Commission announcement.”

“The Prime Minister said this morning that “incidences of older people being hurt by failures of care simply cannot be explained or excused” and that “if you want to deal with a problem, you have to be fair dinkum about understanding the full extent of it”. We agree, and the same needs to apply for the thousands of people with disability who have experienced violence and abuse in a broad range of settings.”

“Violence and abuse of people with disability is systemic. The evidence is extensive and compelling. The violence can no longer be ignored.”

The Prime Minister’s announcement that this Royal Commission into Aged Care will include the thousands of young people with disability who live in nursing homes is welcome. Recent data shows that the introduction of the NDIS has meant that only 23 of the 2,600 young people in aged care have funding for disability accommodation in their NDIS plans. This is a disgrace.”

“Young people do not belong in aged care. The NDIS is not working to get young people with disability out of aged care and into the community where they belong. The Royal Commission must consider the crucial stories of these young people with disability.”

“Many people with disability, who are unable to get the essential supports they need under the NDIS, are being pushed into the aged care system. This Royal Commission must look at this vital issue.”

“People with disability who are over 65 are not eligible for the NDIS, yet the aged care system is not designed to meet their specific disability support needs. They experience considerable inequity in aged care that puts them at significant risk of harm, violence and abuse. Again, the Royal Commission must include these issues.”

“Critically, the Royal Commission into Aged Care must consider the specific and unique issues, disadvantages and risks that are constantly faced by women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in aged care.”

DPO Australia urges the Australian Government to ensure that people with disability and our representative organisations are part of the development of the Terms of Reference for this important Royal Commission into Aged Care.

Further information:

El Gibbs
Manager Media and Campaigns. People with Disability Australia
0408 682 867

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) is an alliance of four national DPOs.  DPOs are organisations that are led by and constituted of people with disability. The key purpose of the DPO Australia is to promote, protect and advance the human rights and freedoms of people with disability in Australia by working collaboratively on areas of shared interests, purposes and strategic priorities and opportunities. DPO Australia is made up of four national population specific and cross-disability DPOs that have been funded by the Australian Government to represent the views of people with disability and provide advice to Government/s and other stakeholders.  The four DPO Australia members are First People’s Disability Network; People with Disability Australia; National Ethnic Disability Alliance and Women With Disabilities Australia.

For further information about Disabled People’s Organisation Australia (DPOA) visit:

  • For further information about People with Disability Australia (PWDA) visit
  • For further information on First People’s Disability Network visit
  • For further information on the National Ethnic Disability Alliance visit:
  • For further information on Women With Disability Australia visit: