Tasmania Legal Aid gave evidence to the Disability Royal Commission hearings focusing on women and girls with disability who experience family or sexual violence.  

Our witness statement noted the high proportion of women and girls with disability (29%) assisted by our family violence team. 

While recognising the benefits of the state-wide Safe at Home coordinated response to people experiencing family violence, we note that women and girls with disability often face particular barriers to leaving violent relationships, including not being believed when they report their experience. They are also at higher risk of being misidentified as the perpetrator rather than the victim. 

TLA Director, Vincenzo Caltabiano, said that these issues, combined with the lack of alternative housing, have significant consequences for the safety of women with disability and their ongoing care of children. The statement concludes with recommendations including a specialist multidisciplinary disability legal service, further training for professionals across the justice system and increased housing options. 

Vincenzo thanked TLA staff for their great work preparing the statement and supporting clients, and our clients for sharing their stories.

TLA’s witness statement is available here and the transcript of the hearing is available here.

Last updated: 20/04/2022