Mid Coast residents interested in sharing their stories with the Disability Royal Commission can find out about the free support and advocacy available at an event on Tuesday, August 9.
The Disability Royal Commission Information Drop-in Day will take place at the Manning Uniting Church community hall at 29 Albert Street, Taree from 9am to 1pm.
Your Story Disability Legal Support (Your Story), Disability Advocacy NSW and Interrelate will provide light refreshments and information about the Royal Commission and the free supports available to local people with disability and their supporters.
"The Disability Royal Commission is taking submissions until December 31, 2022 as it investigates the mistreatment of people with disability in all contexts and settings," said Your Story director, Susannah O'Reilly.
"We know that more than eight percent of people in the Taree-Gloucester area live with disability and typically face challenges such as exclusion from school, difficulties accessing services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and discrimination and a lack of support in the workplace.
"It's important that the Royal Commission hears their stories and ideas for change so that its recommendations to government reflect the needs and priorities of people with disability across Australia."
Your Story has Aboriginal Legal Service lawyers ready to support First Nations people with disability and their families.
Ms O'Reilly added that family members, friends, carers, advocates, and supporters also have a valuable contribution to make and can access free support to share their stories.
"Your Story is a free national service that gives independent legal advice and support to anyone considering taking part in the Disability Royal Commission," she said.
"We can talk to people about their options for sharing their story, and how to do this safely and privately."
Disability Advocacy NSW offers free advocacy support for residents across many NSW regions to access and be heard in the Disability Royal Commission.
"The Royal Commission is a chance to shed light on the systemic issues that people with disability face, and for those who've been mistreated to share their stories and be respectfully listened to," said Gary Thomas, regional manager for the Mid North Coast.
"An advocate can help you tell your story, protect your rights and access other supports.
"They can also support you to make a submission, which can be in any language or format."
Interrelate provides free, independent, and confidential counselling and submission support services to support people who are affected by the Disability Royal Commission.
"We know it can be difficult to relive traumatic experiences," said clinical specialist Melissa Fitzgerald.
"But we also hear from people that it can be empowering and healing to share their story. If you do decide to take that step, then know that there is a lot of free support available."
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