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

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PWDA Submissions

PWDA’s submissions and reports for the Disability Royal Commission.

January 2023

Joint submission: Charters of human rights benefit people with disability

This joint submission is made by the Human Rights Law Centre, People With Disability Australia, and Children and Young People with Disability Australia to the Disability Royal Commission. We call on the Commission to include in its final report a recommendation that there be an Australian Charter of Human Rights.

Download the joint submission as a PDF file or as a Microsoft Word file.

You can also join the campaign for a Charter of Rights here.

December 2022

Vision for Realising Our Human Rights

This submission builds on People with Disability Australia’s contributions to the Disability Royal Commission to date.

It reflects on the notion of ‘inclusion’, which is the theme of public hearing 31, and discusses how widespread segregation, isolation, and systemic exclusion of people with disability not only breach human rights but dangerously create conditions of isolation in which violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation can take place.

The submission asks the DRC to address high level recommendations for legal, policy, structural and practice changes; recommendations to address specific areas of human rights violation identified through PWDA’s recent and previous consultation processes; and recommendations on accountability mechanisms to encourage and enable post-DRC continuous disability reform.

Read our position statement online or download it as a PDF file or as a Microsoft Word file.

Download the full submission as a PDF file or as a Microsoft Word file.

November 2022

Joint submission: Identified gaps in the scope of work undertaken by the Disability Royal Commission as at November 2022

DROs have worked together to provide a joint submission to the DRC outlining gaps in the scope of work undertaken to date and issues that require further examination. Find out more.

Our lives, our decisions: Submission to the Disability Royal Commission on guardianship, substituted and supported decision-making

Some people with disability need support to make decisions. We have a right to get that support instead of having decisions imposed on us or made for us (known as substituted or substitute decision-making). Too many people with disability under guardianship or administration orders are not seeing their rights upheld.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) believes that models of supported decision-making must replace substituted decision-making models for people with disability wherever possible. In the long term, that means a transition from Australia’s guardianship system to a national supported decision-making framework. Meanwhile, urgent action is needed to prevent harm to people with disability who remain subject to guardianship & administration during the transition’s planning and implementation.

We have made a submission to the Disability Royal Commission detailing our recommendations, which are based on on the experiences of PWDA’s individual advocacy clients, as well as systemic issues identified by PWDA’s individual advocates. Our individual advocates have extensive experience working with people subject to guardianship, administration and financial management orders in New South Wales and Queensland. This submission also reflects the experiences and views of PWDA’s Board members who are people with disability with extensive involvement and experience in the disability rights sector.

Download our submission and associated position statement at our website.

April 2022

Wage equity and more choices in employment for people with an intellectual disability

Inclusion Australia and People with Disability Australia commissioned a brief review of the evidence available about the experiences of people with an intellectual disability working in sheltered workshops, also known as Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs).

This review looks at the impact and experiences of people with an intellectual disability working for sub-minimum wages, transitions to open and self-employment, and what works to support people in open and self-employment.

ADE Evidence Review – Inclusion Australia and PWDA – April 2022

October 2021

The Experiences & Perspectives of People with Disability From Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

NEDA, PWDA and FECCA’s joint submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability in response to their issues paper explains that social and structural discrimination is compounded for people with disability from CALD backgrounds, due to barriers arising from an intersection of racism and ableism, and other factors relating to language, culture, migration history and experience, visa status, and ethnicity and religion.

We argue that the Australian Government needs to abolish legislation, policies, and practices that unfairly discriminates against migrants, refugees and asylum seekers with disability, and bring about more humane processes that afford dignity and fairness. People with disability from CALD backgrounds should be able to access and navigate service systems in Australia, on an equal basis to the wider population.

For more information, read our position statement or download the full submission as a PDF file or as a Microsoft Word file.

July 2021

We belong here – Our nation must end exclusionary systems that harm people with disability

This submission was made in response to the “Promoting Inclusion” issues paper released by the Disability Royal Commission in December 2020. 

It examines the ways in which people with disability are excluded across the social spectrum, and the how our exclusion promotes violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

In this submission, we present strategies for moving beyond tokenistic gestures that do little to really address the exclusion of people with disability. What we want to see is authentic inclusion, with a focus on upholding our human rights, equity and social justice.

You can read the full submission and our position statement at the links below.

PWDA Position Statement – We Belong Here (PDF Version)

PWDA Position Statement – We Belong Here (Word Version)

We Belong Here – Submission (Word Version)

We Belong Here – Submission (PDF Version)

February 2021

People with disability need effective safeguards

Safeguards are laws, rules and programs that are meant to protect our right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. People with disability need those safeguards to work well and actually make us safer.

Some safeguards we need include:

  • Access to education and other personal capacity building measures to help us maintain personal safety in our communities.
  • Preventative measures like laws that uphold our rights, official visitor programs and affordable access to police checks.
  • Effective complaints mechanisms wherever we use a service or engage with a government department.
  • A national independent statutory body in charge of all disability oversight and safeguarding commissions, tribunals and similar groups in Australia.

Our submission in response to the Safeguards and Quality Issues Paper can be found here.

February 2021:

We have a right to choose homes without violence

People with disability experience a heightened risk of violence in the home. PWDA recommends legislative reforms to state and territory Family and Domestic Violence Acts to include paid and unpaid support workers and co-residents as potential perpetrators of domestic violence. People with disability also need more accessible crisis support and access to justice around domestic violence.

Our submission in response to the Abuse of People with Disability at Home Issues Paper can be found here.

December 2020:


The segregation of people with disability in a host of community settings – including health, housing, the workplace and formal education – is a driver of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. You can read our joint position paper opposing the segregation of people with disability in all settings by visiting the DPOA website.

July 2020:

The COVID-19 pandemic brought a great deal of changes to everyone in Australia, and particularly to people with disability.

PWDA asked our membership to tell us about their experiences in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report sets out the findings.

Survey report – PDFDownload

Survey report – WordDownload

April 2020: 

Realising our right to be safe in emergencies

Discussion of the impact of the two recent emergencies – the Black Summer Bushfires  and COVID-19  – on people with disability, and the overall disasters that our changing climate will bring.

Our submission in response to the Emergency Planning and Response Issues Paper can be found here.


September 2019:

DRC Draft Accessibility Strategy

In PWDA’s letter on the draft accessibility strategy we argued the strategy should be rewritten in plain English. We called for legal, therapeutic and advocacy supports to be made available before the commission progressed further.

PWDA argued it was essential a trauma-informed approach was taken based on the social model of disability and doing no further harm to survivors. The final Accessibility and Inclusion Strategy was released in December 2019.

Our submission on the Disability Royal Commission Draft Accessibility Strategy can be found here.

June 2019: 

Realising our right to live independently in the community

We need to be able to choose where we live and who we live with – PWDA calls for a phasing out of group homes.

In this submission, we talk about drivers of violence and abuse in congregate living. We also discuss the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – which states that people with disability have the right to live independently in the community – and what this means in regard to Australia’s obligations regarding housing options for people with disability.

We outline a transition plan to phase out congregate living and deliver a contemporary, accessible and affordable housing system, while addressing structural barriers.

Our submission in response to the Disability Royal Commission’s Group Homes Issues Paper can be found here.