Should the disability royal commission achieve what it sets out to do, Dr Debra Keenahan hopes she might be able to walk down the street in peace.
"That is what I want to be able to do," Dr Keenahan said.
"And that is what I want for my daughter."
After four and a half years, almost 8000 submissions and over 1800 public hearings and private sessions, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability handed down its extensive final report and recommendations in October.
Dr Keenahan - an academic, artist and psychologist - was born with achondroplasia dwarfism.
She now lives on the Central Coast with her husband but grew up in Berkeley, the youngest child of five and only daughter.
Her daughter is also of short stature.
Dr Keenahan made a submission and gave evidence to the royal commission in October 2022 during a hearing examining the violence and abuse directed towards people with disability in public spaces.
Her evidence painted a distressing picture: abuse hurled by strangers from passing cars was a common phenomenon, and she had copped her "fair share" of people filming or photographing her and her daughter without permission.
Dr Keenahan also spoke of experiencing sexual harassment and even assaults in public.
She avoided places like skate parks and certain nightspots "like the plague", she said, and beaches were "a forum for comments and the microaggressions".
"I will say ad nauseam, my dwarfism doesn't disable me. Yes, it may impair me in some ways, but it doesn't disable me," Dr Keenahan told the commission.
"What disables me is people's attitudes to my dwarfism."
More people with disability experience violence than people without, and experience it more regularly; young women and First Nations women with disability, and women with psychological or intellectual disability are especially at risk.
The disability royal commission has made 222 recommendations in its final report, which spans some 5000 pages and 12 volumes.
A key recommendation is the establishment of a Disability Rights Act, to bring the international human rights of people with disability into Australian law.
"What they're suggesting is what has the capacity to make a cultural shift and a cultural change," Dr Keenahan said.
She said establishing people with disability as holders of certain rights meant governments and organisations then bore responsibility to ensure those rights were met.
Recommendations around the Disability Rights Act also call for requirements for Commonwealth entities to meet the needs of people with disability through the provision of accessible information, interpreters and the like, and report on how they were meeting their duties.
Dr Keenahan said not only would this be user-friendly for people with disability, but had capacity to proactively avoid neglect and abuse.
Dr Keenahan was glad to see a recommendation to bring people with disability into the decision-making process of government bodies when it came to policies, laws, programs and changes to services, saying they had insufficient involvement at present.
"This is one of the issues that people with disability have had to contend with for... an extremely long time throughout history," she said.
"And that is people speaking for us, over us, past us."
The royal commission also recommends strengthening the existing Disability Discrimination Act by ensuring government and other duty-holders had an obligation to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
Dr Keenahan said at present there was little incentive for government and organisations to actively prevent discrimination, but this changed their obligation.
The royal commission recommends offensive behaviour and vilification on the grounds of disability should also be made unlawful through the Disability Discrimination Act.
"I was so pleased to hear that, because currently, it affords very, very limited if any protection against vilification on the basis of disability," Dr Keenahan said.
The royal commission says legal tests for discrimination should shift the onus to the respondent to prove disability was not the reason for a person's treatment, away from the person with disability who has been unfavourably treated.
"That in itself becomes an incentive for organisations to actively examine their practices, policies and processes to try to ensure that such discriminations are not occurring," Dr Keenahan said.
Dr Keenahan said that if the recommendations were implemented to their full capacity, they would trigger positive and constructive change for people with disability.
"What I really like is that they made a clear statement that... there needed to be a paradigm shift, which was basically away from a medical model of disability to a social model of disability," she said.
Dr Keenahan is now looking to see how the government will respond.
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