About the project
This grant was awarded for a trial project that supports isolated people with intellectual disabilities to make their own decisions by matching them with an appropriately trained volunteer.
This project aimed to trial the model and, if successful, would then provide evidence for long-term funding and legislative reform consistent with the recommendations in the Victorian Law Reform Commission report on guardianship released in 2012.
The trial was to link twenty people with intellectual disabilities to twenty highly skilled volunteers who could assist them with decision-making. In the long term, the Office of the Public Advocate hopes to use the project as evidence to encourage government to support this alternative to guardianship. This project is now complete.
Outcome of the project
The Victorian trial of supported decision-making produced many positive outcomes.
Learnings about supported decision-making have already been used in the development of educational material for the new 'supportive attorney' legislation that will be enacted by the Powers of Attorney Act 2014.
The project recruited eighteen volunteers and eighteen participants (slightly fewer than originally anticipated). Volunteers participated in induction training and update meetings where volunteers were able to discuss and reflect on their cases and problem-solve together.
By the end of the trial period all participants had made and implemented decisions, and in many cases decisions made at the outset of the project were reformulated and then new ones made and supported along the way. Both participants and volunteers indicated benefits from being involved in the project and most volunteers have maintained informal contact with their participant.
Although there were many positive results, the project was considerably more time-intensive than anticipated, and, as a consequence, the supported decision-making program will not continue.