Equality before the Law

A 13 year old boy with Asperger Syndrome was ineligible to receive disability support services because the Victorian Department of Human Services did not consider Asperger Syndrome and other Autism Spectrum Disorders to be a "disability".  The boy's mother applied to VCAT for a review of the Departments decision and advocated for an inclusive and contextual interpretation of "disability", in light of the rights enshrined in the Charter.

Prior to the commencement of the hearing, the Victorian Government decided to acknowledge Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger Syndrome) as a disability under the Act and thereby entitle Victorians, including the 13 year old boy, with Autism to disability assistance.  The Goverment promised to suppport this decision by $2.75 million in additional funding.

The President of the Autistis Family Support Association commented that she did not think that the policy change would have occurred had the litigation not been initiated.

For more information visit the Human Rights Law Resource Centre, Case Studies: How a Human Rights Act can Promote Dignity and Address Disadvantage.