What kind of help can I get to tell my story?
You can get help to tell your story.
It will not cost you any money.
You can get help from people who can:
- help you make choices about telling your story
- give you legal advice
- help you with communicating or interpreters
- help you with getting other types of support
- help you to tell your story (advocacy)
- help you with emotional support
(someone to help you with how this makes you feel)
- help you with money if you need it to help you tell your story
- help you in other ways
The contact details of the people who can help you are below.
You can also go to the Royal Commission Support page here.
Help to tell your story - advocacy
You can get help from an advocacy agency to tell your story.
Advocacy agencies can help you:
- - Protect your rights
- - Help you say what you want to say
- - Provide advice in your best interest
- - Help you get the supports you need
You can find your closest advocacy agency's details by clicking here.
The names of the funded advocacy agencies are listed below (by state).
Australian Capital Territory
ACT Disability Aged & Carer Advocacy Service Inc (ADACAS)
Advocacy for Inclusion Incorporated
New South Wales
Advocacy Law Alliance Incorporated (Disability Advocacy NSW)
Illawarra Advocacy Incorporated
Intellectual Disability Rights Service Inc
Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW Incorporated
Newell Advocacy Inc
People With Disability Australia Incorporated
Regional Disability Advocacy Service Ltd
Self Advocacy Sydney
Side By Side Advocacy Incorporated
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
Sydney Region Aboriginal Corporation
The Institute for Family Advocacy & Leadership Development Assn
Darwin Community Legal Service Inc.
Disability Advocacy Service Inc.
Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Aboriginal Corporation
Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia
Independent Advocacy in the Tropics Inc
Mackay Advocacy Incorporated
People With Disability Australia Incorporated
Queensland Advocacy Inc
Rights In Action Inc
Speaking Up For You Inc
Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy Programme Inc
TASC National Ltd
Advocacy for Disability Access and Inclusion Incorporated
Brain Injury Network of South Australia Inc
Citizen Advocacy South Australia Incorporated
Disability Advocacy and Complaints Service of South Australia Incorporated
Disability Rights Advocacy Service Incorporated
Independent Advocacy SA Incorporated
Advocacy Tasmania Inc.
Citizen Advocacy Launceston Region Inc.
Speak Out Association Of Tasmania Inc.
Action for More Independence & Dignity in Accommodation Inc
Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities Inc
Association of Employees with Disability Inc
Citizen Advocacy Sunbury and Districts Inc
Colac Otway Region Advocacy Service
Disability Justice Advocacy Inc
Gippsland Disability Advocacy Inc
Grampians disAbility Advocacy Association Inc.
Leadership Plus Inc.
Melbourne East Disability Advocacy Inc.
North East Citizen Advocacy Inc
Regional Disability Advocacy Service Ltd
Rights Information and Advocacy Centre Inc
Southern Disability Advocacy Incorporated
Southwest Advocacy Association Inc
Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council Inc
Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc
Advocacy South West Inc
Catholic Archdiocese of Perth (Personal Advocacy Service)
Citizen Advocacy Perth West Inc
Ethnic Disability Avocacy Centre
Midland Information, Debt & Legal Advocacy Service Inc
People with Disabilities (WA) Inc
Sussex Street Community Law Service Inc
Free Legal Advice
Some people might want to talk to a lawyer about the Royal Commission.
That might be if you are worried or afraid about losing your job, services or accommodation.
It might be because you are worried that you will get into trouble for other reasons.
It might also be because you need another type of assistance or to make a referral.
You can get free legal advice from the Royal Commission.
There are two organisations who have been asked to help so far.
They are National Legal Aid (NLA) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS).
- give independent advice to people with disability, and their families, carers, supporters and advocates
- explain your legal rights and the options available to engage with the Royal Commission
- tell you how you can make a submission, participate in a community forum, provide evidence at a hearing or share information about your experiences
- make referrals to counselling and other support services.
If you think you might be interested in getting free legal advice, you can ring them.
They can 'register your interest' (put your name down on a list for later on) by calling 1800 771 800.
Or you can call the NLA directly on 1800 771 800 (between 9.15am and 5.15pm (AEDT).)
The phone will only be answered between 9:15am to 5:15pm AEDT, Monday to Friday, not including public holidays.
You can also go to the new Legal Aid website by clicking here.
There will be more legal advice services on the website soon.
The Royal Commission will let you know on the website or by email (if you have signed up for information).
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.
Counselling (Emotional Support)
If you need to talk to somebody about how the idea of telling your story makes you feel, you can ring the Blue Knot Foundation.
They are running the National Counselling and Referral Service.
It is a national (all over Australia), free counselling and referral service.
The service is for people with disability, their families and carers, and anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission.
You can ring the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 or 02 6146 1468 to get:
- support for your emotional wellbeing
- support for making choices about telling your story
- information on other practical supports available to you.
You can only phone them from 9:00am to 6:00pm weekdays and 9:00am to 5:00pm weekends (AEDT).
People who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment can contact them through the National Relay Service (NRS). Please phone 133 677.
If you require support in another language please use the free of charge Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National), by:
- calling the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 and asking for an interpreter. The counsellor will make the arrangements, or:
- calling TIS National on 131 450 and asking to be connected to the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468.
The Department of Social Services website has more information about the supports.
You can also contact:
Beyond Blue Support Service
– phone 1300 224 636 (24 hours/7 days)
– provides free, immediate, short-term counselling, advice and referral to anyone in Australia via telephone, webchat or email 24/7.
Lifeline Crisis Support
– phone 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days) or chat to a crisis supporter online (7pm – midnight/7 nights).
This is a confidential service providing support to anyone in Australia who is feeling overwhelmed, having difficulty coping, or thinking about suicide.
This service also provides advice to anyone caring for that person.
Legal Financial Assistance
The legal financial assistance scheme helps people and groups pay for legal costs that they might have because of the Royal Commission.
The scheme is run by the Attorney-General's Department (AGD).
The AGD website has information on who can apply, how to apply and how long it will take them to make a decision.
Who can get help?
The AGD website says that individuals can get assistance, and organisations and groups may get assistance.
You will only get financial help if you are eligible and if you are:
- - being called, or granted leave to appear, as a witness at a hearing of the Royal Commission, or
- - being asked to attend, or attending an interview of the Royal Commission, or
- - complying with a notice to give information or a statement in writing that will be used as evidence in the Royal Commission, and/or
- - complying with a notice to produce issued by the Royal Commission, and where the entity, excluding an individual, would not able to meet these costs without incurring serious financial hardship.
An 'entity' can be a person who is an employee or former employee of any 'disability service' who is not representing their employer.
If you have been called by the Royal Commission, in your personal capacity, you will be eligible for legal financial assistance.
If your organisation has been called, you may be eligible for legal financial assistance.
The organisation will be subject to an assessment of whether it can meet the cost of its legal representation without incurring serious financial difficulty.
Find out more by clicking here.