Detail image of broken wicker or cane

This hearing of the Disability Royal Commission looks at the tragic case of Ann-Marie Smith's death and investigates violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability in South Australian Government disability support services. 


Skip to: Live stream | Witnesses | Transcripts | Media Coverage | Support servicesMore info

Content Warning 

Some of the stories and information below contain details about abuse, neglect and mistreatment of people with disability. You can find help if you have any concerns because of this information.

How can I attend? 

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will hold its fourteenth public hearing in Adelaide from 7-11 June. It will be the second in a series of Royal Commission hearings to examine how disability service providers prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

Media and the general public will be welcome to attend this public hearing at the Adelaide Convention Centre in person. This remains subject to change depending on COVID-19 health advice nearer the hearing date.

The hearing will still be live-streamed on the Disability Royal Commission’s website and include live captioning and Auslan-English interpreters.


What is it about? 

The hearing will be the second of several Royal Commission hearings examining how disability service providers prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. In the course of this examination, the Royal Commission will also inquire into what changes have been made by the South Australian and Commonwealth governments over the past year to safeguard vulnerable people with disability from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Public hearing 14 will focus on the recent experiences of people with disability in receipt of disability accommodation services operated by the South Australian Department of Human Services (Department). It is anticipated that evidence will be presented relating to two case studies highlighting broader systemic issues to be examined in subsequent public hearings. It is also anticipated that evidence will be presented on the response of the Department, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) to recommendations made by the South Australian Safeguarding Task Force in its report dated 31 July 2020, and the Honourable Alan Robertson SC in his report titled ‘Independent review of the adequacy of the regulation of supports and services provided to Ann-Marie Smith, an NDIS participant, who died on 6 April 2020’.

The hearing will examine:

  1. the experiences of two people with disability in receipt of disability accommodation services provided by the Department over approximately 5 years, including:
    1. how the Department responded when incidents occurred or complaints were made
    2. how the Department communicated with and provided information to their families
    3. the process of transitioning to different accommodation
  2. the Department’s policies, systems and operations
  3. the responses of the South Australian and Commonwealth governments to the implementation of recommendations made in the past reports and inquiries identified above, and
  4. any related matters.

Auslan Video


Live stream

This live stream/recording has closed captions and Auslan translations. There is an audio-only stream option.


Witness List

4 June 2021


Official Transcripts 

7 June 2021

The Guardian

Threat of ‘cruelty, violence’ against SA disability care resident not investigated for three years 

A South Australian family have told of their fear after receiving an anonymous letter warning their nephew would be “abused with cruelty, violence, regularly and repeatedly” and might be poisoned or drowned at his supported disability accommodation.

ABC News

Disability royal commission hears story of family sent letter threatening loved one's life 

The guardians of a man with disabilities living in an Adelaide group home have told the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability they were sent an anonymous letter threatening his life. 

ABC News

This video has closed captions.

9 June 2021

SBS News

Mother of Man with intellectual disability dismayed by investigation into unexplained bruising.

The mother of a South Australian man with severe intellectual disability has shared her struggle to get answers after her son was taken to hospital with large bruising across his torso while he lived in state-managed supported accommodation

ABC News

A mother complained about son's care, then bruises appeared, disability royal commission hears

The mother of a man who lives with severe disabilities has recalled the horror of discovering significant bruising on her son — who lived in a group home — after she'd made complaints about his care. 

Ann Marie Smith's former friend tells disability royal commission of caring young woman who loved to laugh

"One thing I will never forget about Annie is her laugh," Brooke wrote in the letter.


Support Services

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

The Disability Royal Commission has set up support services for people with disability affected by or interacting with the Commission process. These supports include counselling, advocacy, 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 mistreatment of people with disability. 


More Information

We covered Shocking cases of disability abuse and neglect that come to light last year.

Information on Reporting abuse of people with a disability is here.

Go to Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability for our full coverage on the Disability Royal Commission or choose from some of the past hearings listed below. 

Past Hearings

Disability Royal Commission looks at preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in disability services 
Public hearing to examine the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out for people with disability 
Disability Royal Commission looks at the criminal justice system 
Disability Royal Commission explores education and training of health care professionals in relation to people with cognitive disability 
Disability Royal Commission explores pathways and barriers to open employment for people with disability 
Disability Royal Commission looks at First Nations People with a Disability
Disability Royal Commission explores barriers to education 
Disability Royal Commission hearing on the use of psychotropic medication 
Disability Royal Commission Hearing on Emergency Planning 

Disability Royal Commission 

Phone: 1800 517 199
Web: disability.royalcommission.gov.au 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

IDEAS does information so you can do life.