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Public hearing 28 of the Disability Royal Commission focuses on people with disability who have experienced violence and abuse in public places.

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Media coverage 
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Content Warning 

Some of the stories and information below may contain details of abuse, neglect and mistreatment of people with disabilities. If this content causes you distress, you can find help here.

How can I attend? 

Public hearing 28 will be held from 10 to 14 October 2022, at Level 5, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane.

The hearing will be conducted by the Honourable Ronald Sackville AO KC (Chair), Dr Rhonda Galbally AC and the Honourable John Ryan AM. The hearing will be open to the public and will be live-streamed on the homepage of the Royal Commission website.

The live stream and video recordings include Auslan, captions and audio-only options. Transcripts will be available in PDF and DOCX formats.

What is it about?

Public hearing 28 focuses on people with disability who have experienced violence and abuse in public places. This includes incidents of verbal abuse and harassment, intimidation and threatening behaviour, and physical assaults, taking place in a range of settings including:

  • on the street
  • in shopping centres
  • on public transport
  • in bars and entertainment venues, and
  • on online platforms.

The scope and purpose of Public hearing 28 are to:

  • hear about people with disability’s experiences of violence and abuse in public places
  • identify what is presently known about the prevalence of violence and abuse in public places
  • highlight the impacts of violence and abuse in public places
  • consider the avenues for reporting violence and abuse in public places, in both physical and online settings
  • examine the frameworks for responding to violence and abuse in public places, in both physical and online settings

Live stream

This live stream/recording has closed captions and Auslan translations. In addition, there is an audio-only stream option. Recordings can be accessed by clicking on Event Posts in the top right-hand corner of the video frame.

Witness List

Official Transcripts

Media coverage

10 October 2022

Disability Royal Commission

Media release: Hearing to examine endemic violence and abuse against people with disability in public spaces

Starting on Monday 10 October, 14 people with visible and invisible disabilities will give evidence during the five-day hearing. The witnesses will describe incidents of targeted harassment, verbal abuse, physical assaults and threatening behaviour which have occurred in public places such as on the street, on public transport and on online platforms.

ABC News

Abuse of people with disability in public places at the centre of this week's DRC hearing — a topic many Australians know all too well

This week we'll hear from dozens of people across Australia who have encountered this type of abuse — and likely far worse — at the disability royal commission (DRC).

The witnesses will describe incidents of harassment, verbal abuse, physical assault and threatening behaviour across a range of settings, including on the street, on public transport, and online platforms. 

The Guardian Australia

They yell at you’: woman with dwarfism reveals ‘deeply offensive’ abuse hurled in public

“You tense up, more often than not it happens from a car rushing by you,” she said. They yell at you, or it’s from a distance in a crowd. It’s always yelled. There is this … attack. That’s what it feels like.

Shepparton News

Paralympic swimmer details abuse in public

First Nations Paralympic gold medallist Tracy Barrell OAM has told the disability royal commission about being verbally abused by strangers in public, with her complaints to police and others falling on deaf ears.

11 October 2022

The Guardian Australia

Woman of short stature tells inquiry how men yelling abuse triggered ‘trauma reaction’

A woman of short stature has told how she has been spat on, sexually harassed, followed and was even hassled by strangers the night before she appeared at a royal commission.

15 October 2022

ABC News

The disability royal commission heard shocking evidence of abuse in public spaces this week. These were just some of the stories

Sexual assaults on public transport. 

Physical and verbal abuse so frequent you become too scared to leave home. 

Being picked up off the ground, filmed without consent, and singled out by crowds.

Relentless trolling and strangers online telling you that you should be killed. 

These are all things people with disability in Australia routinely experience in public spaces.

Support Services

Your Story Disability Legal Support is a free, independent legal service that supports people with disabilities to share their stories with the Disability Royal Commission safely.

The Disability Royal Commission has set up support services for people with disabilities affected by or interacting with the Commission process. These supports include counselling, advocacy, and financial and legal help. For more information and links, read our resource on Royal Commission Support Services.

The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline is a free, independent and confidential service for reporting the mistreatment of people with disabilities. 

Contact the Disability Royal Commission 

Call 1800 517 199
Visit the Commission website 
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