Victorians who have a disability or mental illness have the same rights as all Victorians.
There are a number of organisations working with people with a disability or mental illness (and their carers and service providers) to ensure that these rights are upheld.
Within the department, Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) is a statutory body working to protect the rights of people with a disability or mental illness. OPA offers a range of services, including:
- an advice service, which can be contacted by telephone, letter, email or by visiting the office
- staff and volunteers who can officially be appointed as guardians
- volunteers who visit facilities where people with a disability or mental illness live
- volunteers who attend police interviews to ensure people with a disability or mental illness know their rights.
OPA can also investigate claims of abuse, neglect and exploitation of a person with a disability or mental illness who is in care.
Consumer Affairs Victoria – a department business area – provides relevant information and services with consumers with a disability, including:
- audio guides
- information in 'Easy English'
- advocacy services for eligible tenants.
Other government departments and agencies working to support and protect the rights of people with a disability or mental illness include the Department of Health and Human Services, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Victoria Legal Aid, the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the Office of the Disability Services Commissioner and the Office of the Health Services Commissioner.