Submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability – Experiences of people with disability enforcing rights under the CRPD

PIAC made a submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability to bring attention to the experiences of people with disability when enforcing rights under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

PIAC recently represented Ms Lauren Henley in relation to Australia’s failure to provide audio description on free-to-air television. After exhausting domestic complaint avenues, Ms Henley made a complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee). On 23 September 2022, the Committee transmitted its decision finding Australia has failed to fulfil its obligations under the CRPD. The failure to mandate the provision of audio description on free-to-air television requires immediate Government action.

This submission to the Royal Commission focuses on the barriers that prevent individuals like Ms Henley from enforcing their rights under the CRPD in Australia, including the limited domestic avenues to make complaints and problems with available complaint mechanisms. Our comments are based on PIAC’s experience assisting clients with disability, disability advocates and peak representative organisations.

The failure to fully implement CRPD rights in Australian law and the limited domestic avenues to hold responsible parties to account constitutes neglect on the part of the Australian Government and may ultimately contribute to people with disability experiencing further violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

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