The timetable for the 2020 public hearings of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has been released.
Commissioner Ronald Sackville said the royal commission's program of work has been significantly affected by the unprecedented and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
'Our hearings planned for the rest of the year will be conducted in a COVID safe way, including utilising video conferencing,' he said.
The next hearing in Sydney (August 18- 21) will investigate the experiences of people with disability during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to COVID restrictions, it is anticipated that most witnesses will appear by video. A small number of witnesses may attend in person to give their evidence, subject to relevant government advice.
The hearing will be livestreamed on the commission's website. Due to restrictions, the hearing room will not be open to the public.
The scheduled hearings are:
Week of September 21: Sydney - Public hearing into the use of psychotropic medication.
Week of October 12: Brisbane - Public hearing into the barriers experienced by students with disability in accessing and obtaining a safe, quality and inclusive school education and consequent life course impacts
Week of November 16: Brisbane - Public hearing into long term, including indefinite, detention and the experiences of people with disability in the criminal justice system
Week of November 23: Brisbane - Public hearing into the experiences of First Nations people with disability and their families in contact with child protection systems.
Two further public hearings may be held in December.
'Public hearings are a critical part of the royal commission's work in gathering information about the nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. 'They allow the royal commission, and the wider Australian community, to hear first-hand from witnesses about their experiences," said Mr Sackville.
'They also allow the royal commission to investigate the reasons why violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation occurs and the changes in policies in practices needed to ensure the safety of people with disability.
'We will continue to provide regular updates about the work of the royal commission on our website, in our Connect newsletter and on our social media channels,' he said.
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