Following the announcement of 5 April 2019 by the Prime Minster, Scott Morrison, of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, the Terms of Reference and Commissioners have now been announced.
The Commissioners have been announced as the Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC as the Chair of the Royal Commission, supported by Ms Barbara Bennett PSM, Dr Rhonda Galbally AC, Ms Andrea Mason OAM, Mr Alastair McEwin, and The Hon John Ryan AM.
The Commissioners are required to provide their interim report by no later than 30 October 2020, with the final report due by no later than 29 April 2022. The Commission will be held in Brisbane.
The Terms of Reference are broad ranging and in line with the themes we had expected. They will focus on:
- what governments, institutions and the community should do to prevent, and better protect, people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
- what governments, institutions and the community should do to encourage reporting and effective responses to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.
- what should be done to promote a more inclusive society, which supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
In his media announcement today, the Prime Minister confirmed that the three year royal commission would “cover all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, in all settings where they occur – and that’s just what it will do”.
Given the nature of a Royal Commission, now is a good time to start your preparations and position your organisation for the journey ahead.
What should you be doing right now?
- You should have already identified an internal team, undertaken a 'self-audit', reviewed your personal indemnity insurance policy and/or engaged with your broker regarding potential insurance coverage.
- Engage a barrister (and of course retain a law firm) and consider witnesses who may be called on behalf of your organisation.
These are just the starting point.