Who can share their story?
If you are a disabled person who has experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation, you can share your story with the Royal Commission.
You can also talk to them about the experience of a family member (if you have their consent, or if they have died) or a client (if you are a whistleblower).
The Commissioners will listen to and read people's stories so that they can understand what happened.
Why share your story?
People may want to share their stories for different reasons.
For a lot of people, telling their stories can mean that they have a chance to heal and feel better about the abuse.
For others, it might give them reassurance that it won't happen to anyone else.
The Royal Commission is still being set up, so some things aren't yet in place.
But you can still share your story.
Here are the steps you will need to take.
The first step is to contact the Royal Commission and let them know you are interested in sharing your story.
You can ring them on 1800 517 199 or +61 7 3734 1900.
Find out more here.
You can email them at DRCenquiries@royalcommission.gov.au
Or you can post a letter to GPO Box 1422, Brisbane Qld, 4001.
When you contact them, you can also let them know:
- if there is anything you need, like support, to tell your story
- if you have any worries about telling your story
- if English isn't your first language
- if you're in a juvenile justice centre, correctional centre or residential facility and need special arrangements to be made to share your experience
You can also ask about support services.
A submission is a way to tell your story.
You can make a submission online here - you may need help.
There is an easy English version available.
Find out more about making a submission here.
There is an Auslan video about making a submission below.
Once you have contacted the Royal Commission, they will contact you to talk about how you want to share your story.
You can share your story over the phone, in writing or in person in a private session.
You might have to wait until they ring you back.
You can get financial, legal, advocacy and counselling help from the Royal Commission to tell your story.
You can find out about that help .
There will be details of public and private hearings uploaded onto the official website and also on social media.
What's a public and private hearing?
Private hearings are sessions held just with you and a Commissioner or Commissioners.
If you don't want to see a particular Commissioner (for example, some disabled people have an issue with some of the Royal Commissioners because of past roles) you can ask that they not be present.
You can bring notes or documents to your private session to help you share your story.
There will be a face to face counsellor available to help if you need emotional support later.
There are also public hearings.
Hearings are formal proceedings overseen by Commissioners.
Witnesses are called to give evidence.
They might be asked to answer questions or produce documents.
They are open to the public and the media.
They are streamed live to the website.
Sometimes, the Commissioners might decide to make evidence private.
Then they will not make that information public.
Hearings are published on the Royal Commission website here.
You can also see past hearings at that link.