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Disability Royal Commission Legal Service

Who we help

People with disability as well as their families, carers, supporters and advocates.

Priority will be given to people with a disability (including those engaging on their behalf), in particular those who:

  • are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander,
  • are from a culturally and linguistically diverse background,
  • identify with LGBTIQ+, or
  • reside in institutions (such as care facilities and prison/detention centres).

Legal services will not be provided to organisations (e.g. advocacy groups, NGOs and residential facilities) or people appearing on behalf of an organisation.

How we can help

We will give independent legal advice to people with disability, and their families, carers, supporters and advocates. We will be able to explain your legal rights and the options available to engage with the Royal Commission, Ways you can engage with the Royal Commission include by making a submission, participating in a community forum, providing evidence at a hearing and sharing information about your experiences. We will also be able to make referrals to counselling and other support services.

We are working to ensure the legal service meets the needs of people wishing to engage with the Royal Commission. This will take some time. The full range of legal advice services will become available over the coming months. We will share more information about the availability of legal advice services on this page as soon as it is available.

We have a phone helpline (listed under Contact Us below) to provide general information on how to engage with the Royal Commission, including how to make a voluntary submission.

Through the phone helpline, we are registering the details of people who need legal advice about engaging with the Royal Commission.

Contacting people registered to receive legal advice

On 21 October 2019, we began contacting clients registered to receive legal advice. All registered clients will be contacted to arrange a legal advice appointment.

Submissions

We understand that making a submission to the Royal Commission can be stressful and daunting. There is currently no closing date for submissions to the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission will continue to accept and consider submissions about an issues after a public hearing relating to that issue has happened. If you need help making a submission you can call visit the Royal Commission Website, call the Royal Commission (on 1800 517 199) or contact your local disability advocacy service.

Hearings

The second public hearing will be in Melbourne from 2-6 December and focus on homes and living for people in Victoria, with a particular interest in the experience of people with disability who have lived or are currently living in group homes. We are currently contacting people who have registered from Victoria and elsewhere with an interest about accommodation issues.

We will have a lawyer from the Legal Service at the hearings in Melbourne to provide face-to-face legal advice to individuals who are not witnesses at the hearing.

Issues Paper

The Royal Commission has released an Education and Learnings Issues Paper that includes 13 questions relating to violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with disability in education and learning environments. The Royal Commission encourages responses to the paper by 20 December 2019. We will contact people who have registered with an interest about education and learning issues.

If you have registered your interest for legal advice about a particular topic, for example housing or education, we will aim to give legal advice to you before a public hearing is held on that topic. It is important to be aware that submissions on topics addressed in a hearing can still be made after the public hearings.

Our Approach

We understand that telling your story to the Royal Commission can be difficult and worrying. There is a National Counselling and Referral Services available to assist you. You can call this service on 1800 421 468 or 02 6146 1468.

You can also get help from disability advocates to prepare your submission.

Not everyone will need legal advice to engage with the Royal Commission. You may want to call the Legal Service and register for legal advice if:

  • You want to name a person or organisation in your story or submission
  • You have a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement that stops you from telling part, or all, of your story
  • You are concerned about retribution or payback that may impact on you (or someone else) such as your safety, access to services, employment or any other fundamental right
  • You want your story or submission, or parts of it, to be kept private

While we can give you legal advice, we cannot prepare your submission for you. Disability advocates may be able to help you to write or record your submission. If there is a complicated legal issue, we may review your draft submission for you.

We will contact everyone who registers for legal advice. When we contact you, we may be able to give you advice immediately, or we may book an appointment to give you advice.

We will not rush you. We have scheduled time to speak with you about your situation and give you the legal advice you need. If we cannot give you all the advice you need when we talk, we will make a further appointment with you.

We understand that waiting for legal advice to engage with the Royal Commission is frustrating. We are working to contact people as quickly as we can.

Collecting your personal information

The Disability Royal Commission Legal Service collects personal information from you to:

  • Provide you with an accessible legal service
  • Ensure accountability for the assistance we provide
  • Plan and report on our services.

The information is used and stored by us in accordance with NSW privacy legislation.

You have a right to apply to access and correct the information we hold about you.

The Disability Royal Commission Legal Service provides free legal help that is independent and separate from the Royal Commission. We will not pass your information to the Commission unless you agree.

We need to collect some demographic information to meet our reporting requirements for the funding to provide the service. This includes information such as age range, gender, jurisdiction (State/territory), Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse status and nature of disability. We are only providing this as statistical information to our funding body, after removing identifying details.

We require dates of birth in order for us to record the advice we provide you in our case management system.

Contact us

Call us on 1800 771 800 between 9.15am and 5.15pm (AEDT).

If you are currently experiencing any form of violence or abuse, or are concerned for your or someone else’s safety, call the Police on 000.

For more information about the Disability Royal Commission:
Call: 1800 517 199
Visit: disability.royalcommission.gov.au.

Teal and lime green logo: National Legal Aid Advisory Service for the Disability Royal Commission