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Are You Capable of Making up Your Own Mind?

80,000 Victorians who have significant cognitive disabilities are going to benefit thanks to the Victorian Law Reform Commission as it reviews the Victorian Guardianship Laws.

decision-makingOkay but why, why now? I hear you ask…

After reviewing  the Human Rights for People with Disabilities information booklet, (© 2008 The President and Fellows of Harvard College) one particular line jumped out and slapped me in the face.

“My countries laws says I cannot make my own decisions”

Now that quote does not refer to Australia however, it does send a loud global message to us all.

Are our laws in line with the progression that’s been achieved with people who have intellectual disabilities?

It’s all about, Equity, Safety, Home, Family, and Privacy

Victorian Law Reform Chairperson Professor Neil Rees says

We must ensure that Victoria’s guardianship laws respond to the current and future needs of people with impaired decision-making capacity and are as easy to understand as possible

The current legislation was designed to serve the needs of people with an intellectual disability when they were leaving institutions a generation ago.

Now, people with age-related disabilities are the main users of guardianship laws, and the number of Victorians who will need these laws is likely to explode with the ageing population.

Professor Rees said the draft reforms aim to shift thinking away from the past where the primary focus was protection for people with a disability, to a modern approach which promotes participation.

That is, enabling people to participate in decisions that affect them, and in the life of the community, as much as possible.

It is essential that we retain and strengthen checks and balances so that vulnerable people have adequate protection when a decision concerning personal and financial matters is made on their behalf.

Outcomes from this review will not just affect people with intellectual disabilities but also seniors. It’s crucial we get this right and I do believe we have a nice mix contributing to this consultation.

• Family members,which include parents and siblings.

• Professional Services representing Law Medical Finance and Support Services

• Advocates

As part of the consultation the Victorian Law reform is holding an “Open Day on Tuesday 3rd of May 2001 that I will be attending, watch this space.


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