A long way to go for First Nations people with disabilities – the Royal Commission wants to hear from you

A recent Disability Royal Commission public hearing, held in Alice Springs, heard from 28 witnesses about the experiences of First Nations people in remote and very remote communities with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Witnesses spoke of the inability to find disability support services that allow them to stay in the country, the difficulty of engaging with an NDIS bureaucracy that often struggles to understand the community and culture, and intergenerational trauma that often occurs when First Nations people engage with government institutions.

This is not the first hearing focused on First Nations – two other hearings have focused on child welfare systems.

All three hearings focused on the first-hand experiences of First Nations people with disabilities.

The Royal Commission alternated between interviews with people with disabilities (as well as families and supporters) and interviewing witnesses representing the NDIA or state and territory departments responsible for child protection systems.

We also heard from representatives of First Nations community-controlled organizations and academic experts.

To learn more about these hearings, with links to Royal Commission transcripts and videos, visit our website.

People with disabilities and our organisations, including People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN), fought long and hard for a Royal Commission on Disability.

We fought for a chance to be heard and to shed light on systems that have failed to uphold our right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and neglect. exploitation.

Now we have one, and we’re working just as hard to make sure it really makes a difference.

One of the most important elements is to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard, especially people from First Nations and other marginalized communities who face double discrimination and are disadvantaged as people with disabilities.

At PWDA, we run a free, independent and confidential advocacy service.

Our lawyers can help you prepare and submit a story to the Disability Royal Commission, including putting you in touch with legal advice and counseling if you need it, and supporting you with other disability issues (such as NDIS or Centrelink).

You can also talk to an Indigenous Advocate from the NDPF or find a local advocacy service near you.

Upcoming Royal Commission on Disability public hearings will uncover the experiences of people with disabilities in police custody, guardianship or administrative order, and with public harassment.

But your story can be about any type of violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation, in any part of your life.

At school, at work, at home, in the shops or at the doctor’s.

You can talk to a lawyer for advice and help determining what, if anything, you want to share, and how to make sure anything you don’t want to share publicly stays private.

And you can tell your story any way you want.

You can write it down, tell the Royal Commission over the phone, or send a video or audio recording.

People even sent in artwork and poetry.

You have until the end of the year to submit something, but you don’t have to tell your story all at once.

You can send as many submissions as you want, for example, if you have something to say on different topics or find additional details to add.

These stories will help the Royal Commission understand what is wrong with people with disabilities in Australia – and if you give your permission, parts of your story could be included in the final report as examples.

Public hearing witness Topsy Jackamarra said: ‘We all have our own stories. We must unite to be strong, to make things change. Because it doesn’t work for our mafia.

What is your disability story?

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