Join the fight to end violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability by engaging with the Disability Royal Commission.

Quick Escape

Public spaces

This page has information about Disability Royal Commission public hearings to do with abuse and violence in public spaces. Parts of our criminal justice issues page will also be relevant.

If you’re not sure about some of the language being used, see if it’s in our Jargon Buster.

Public hearings

Public hearing 28 of the Disability Royal Commission is looking into violence against and abuse of people with disability in public places.

Transcripts of the hearing will be available here, as well as video with Auslan interpretation and various documents mentioned in the hearing. The DRC has now published Counsel Assisting submissions for hearing 28, which suggest several areas for the Commissioners to consider making recommendations in, including legal change, new safeguarding mechanisms and community education.

Our live Twitter commentary can be found here: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday. Unfortunately we didn’t have staff available Thursday.

Where we stand on public abuse and discrimination

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognises the importance of accessibility to the physical, social, economic and cultural environment.

Article 30 specifically says governments must protect our equal right to participation in ‘cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.’

And of course Article 16 is about protecting us from ‘all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse’, including making sure those incidents are ‘identified, investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.’

And yet, today in Australia, people with disability are afraid to enter public spaces – places where every Australian has a right to be, activities every Australian has a right to participate in – for fear of bullying, harassment, abuse and even physical violence.

Find out more

This recent ABC article is a good introduction to disabled experiences in public.

Our ongoing blog series by members of the disability community, Our Voice, now includes an audio blog on this topic: The elephant in the room: disability discrimination in public spaces by Lady Barbarella K.

These Disability Royal Commission reports and issues papers also provide useful context: