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Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc. has prepared a Question and Answer Guide addressing your protections when giving evidence to the Royal Commission.
Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc. wants to assist you to share your experience of violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation with the Disability Royal Commission.
The Commission wants to hear your full story and doesn’t want you to be worried about anything bad happening because you shared your story.
The Commission has created rules to protect you from any harm or disadvantage.
We’ve created a Questions and Answers guide to address any concerns about your protections when giving evidence.
Question: I’m worried that if I give evidence as a witness, they might take away my home, my money or my services. Can they do this?
Answer: Absolutely not! If someone tries to do this they are committing a crime. If someone takes anything of yours away, or harms you in any way for being a witness, that person may have to pay a fine or even go to jail. If they try to do this, you can contact us or tell the Commission directly and they will contact the police.
Question: My service provider told me that if I speak at the Commission, they will take way my home and the help I need to live. Can they do this?
Answer: As above, absolutely not! If your service provider threatens you by telling you that they will take something of yours away for telling your story, then they are breaking the law. Like above, if they have said anything like this to you, tell the Commission, they will contact the police.
Question: What if I say something bad about myself? Can I get in trouble for that?
Answer: No. The Commission wants you to speak freely and openly about everything that has happened. You should feel free to say anything you want about what has happened. Nothing you say during the Commission can be used against you.
Question: I don’t want my name or what I say to be told to anyone. Can I avoid that?
Answer: Yes. You can tell the Commission you don’t want anyone to know your name. The things you tell the Commission will also be protected until at least April 2022 (the government may decide to make this longer).
Question: I don’t want anyone else in the room when I tell my story except for the person writing the report. Can I organise this?
Answer: Yes. The Commission does allow ‘private sessions’. However, the Commission does not know how many private session will be requested and they may not be able to give them to everyone but you can definitely ask.
Question: I signed something that says I can’t say anything about my service provider. If I say something, can they take my things away?
Answer: No. If you have signed something like this, you can ask the Royal Commission to issue you with what is called a ‘notice to produce’ your submission. This means the Commission is asking for your story and as a result nothing you say can be used against you.
If you have any specific concerns you are welcome to call Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc. or contact the Commission directly.
It is absolutely inappropriate and a crime to influence, threaten, intimidate or prevent a witness from giving evidence at the Royal Commission.
Under Part 3 of the Royal Commissions Act, it is an offence to:
The commission of any of the above offences has a penalty of 2 years imprisonment.
Therefore, it is strongly advised that any Disability Support Provider stay completely away from the topic of the Royal Commission when talking with people receiving their services.
Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc. has much pleasure in inviting you to its Annual General Meeting.
Notice of 2019 Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 27th November, 2019 at 5.00 p.m.
If you are a member and have not received your invitation, please contact us on (03) 5227 3338 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We are pleased to announce the next round of VCAT Guardianship List duty lawyer attendances at Shepparton, Morwell and Ballarat.
If you wish to see one of our lawyers, you can simply turn up at VCAT on the day, or you can contact us to make an appointment.
Don’t forget we are also at William Cooper Justice Centre every Wednesday from 9am – 3:00pm, in collaboration with Deakin Law Clinic. Come by and see us on the 2nd floor, just past Courtroom 5. More information here.
Did you know? The legislation for guardianship and administration will be changing early in 2020. We will be running community legal education sessions around the changes to the law in the coming months. Get in touch if you’d like to book one for your community group!
We are pleased to announce that our VCAT duty lawyer service for guardianship and administration matters will be making regional attendances next month.
We provide free legal advice and assistance to people who are the subject of a guardianship or administration application.
If there is a hearing about you on the day we are there, we can meet with you, provide you with advice, and represent you in the hearing. You can meet us at the Tribunal, or call and make an appointment.
If you don’t have a hearing that day, but would like to meet with a lawyer to talk to us about a guardianship or administration matter affecting you, you can call the numbers below to make an appointment.
We will be at Ballarat on 12 September – call 0481 091 061 to book an appointment
We will be at Shepparton on 17 September – call 0481 091 944 to book an appointment
We will be at Morwell on 18 September – call 0481 091 061 to book an appointment
To read more about our duty lawyer pilot at the William Cooper Justice Centre, see our previous post.
The Applicant in this matter, NVWC, through their legal representatives, makes this statement about the above decision handed down on 13 August 2019 (Decision)
I am the person who applied to appeal the decision of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) about the supports they would fund in my plan.
I appealed because they told me:
“(NVWC) has been deemed eligible and granted access to the NDIS due to (their) Autism Spectrum Disorder and Psychosocial disability. Neither of these disabilities include mobility issues that would require equipment such as a Mobility Scooter. As access has been declined under (other conditions), NVWC does not have access under a physical disability.”
This basically says that if you are eligible for the NDIS because you have condition X, then that is the only thing you can have supports funded for.
Lots of people have more than one condition, and we can’t be separated out into our different disabilities. I can’t just leave one disability at home and go out without my scooter!
The NDIA told me this is how it works for eighteen months.
As you can see from the decision, by the time we got to the hearing, they had conceded and agreed to fund the maintenance of my scooter.
I am making this statement so that other people know they should ask for help to appeal if they think the NDIA has made a wrong decision.
Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service Inc. are combining with Deakin University’s Deakin Law Clinic to provide a Duty Lawyer service at the Guardianship List of VCAT in Melbourne.
The Duty Lawyer service will operate on Wednesdays, starting Wednesday 7th August, until further notice. If you have a Guardianship List hearing coming up, you can contact the Deakin Law Clinic in advance to make an appointment to get some advice and possible legal representation. Contact can be made by phone: (03) 9244 3000 or email: email@example.com
You can also ask to see one of the Duty Lawyers on the day of your hearing if it is on a Wednesday, when you arrive at the William Cooper Justice Centre. Please arrive earlier than your hearing time to make sure you have time to talk with a Duty Lawyer.
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Waurn Ponds VIC 3216
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1800 014 111
All other calls
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Phone 133 677
then ask for 03 5227 3338
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