The latest issues paper released by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability seeks information about the experiences of First Nations people with disability.
Data shows that a disproportionate number of First Nations people live with a disability or some form of long term health condition. Previous studies and inquiries have found that compared to the general population, First Nations people with disability are more likely to:
- have experienced threats of physical violence
- have poorer health outcomes than other Australians with disability
- have experienced problems accessing health services
- have been removed and/or had relatives removed from their family
- experience high or very high levels of psychological distress
- be detained due to a cognitive disability, foetal alcohol syndrome or other impairment
- be reliant on government pensions or allowances as their main source of personal income and less likely to be studying and in jobs.
Commissioner Andrea Mason OAM is inviting First Nations people with disability, their families, communities and organisations to respond to the issues paper.
‘This is an opportunity for First Nations people to share their insights and expertise with the Royal Commission.
‘We want to hear about what changes are needed to support First Nations people with disability across the course of their lives and ensure they are able to live a life free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
‘We know that First Nations people with disability face particular challenges in their daily lives across many settings.
‘These challenges can be further compounded by multiple layers of discrimination, based on race and disability’, said Commissioner Mason.
The issues paper also seeks information about programs and approaches that are working well, particularly ones that are community based and community driven.
As well as responding to issues papers, people can share their story with the Royal Commission in any way they want, by phone, in writing or by making an audio or video recording.
People can also register for a private session, which allows people to share their experience with a Royal Commissioner in a confidential setting. It can be in person, via video conferencing or on the phone.
So far, the Royal Commission has had more than 300 requests for private sessions, 20 of those have been from First Nation people.
Commissioner Mason said the most important task for the Royal Commission is to enable people with disability to tell their stories.
‘I want to assure all First Nations people, their families, communities, advocates and organisations that this Royal Commission, is a safe place to share their stories’, said Commissioner Mason.