Legislators and Policy Makers Still Not Respecting the Rights of People with Disabilities


Despite their pledges to do otherwise, legislators and policy makers in both Israel and Australia still do not fully respect the perspectives and wishes of people with “mental disabilities,” according to two articles in Disability and Society.

In one study, Israeli researchers reviewed all disability-related laws and regulations in Israel from 1948 to the present to determine if these were either “bio-medical-based” policies that treated people with disabilities as “impaired” individuals for whom decisions had to be made by others, or “rights-based” policies that sought to recognize and strengthen the civil rights of people with disabilities.

“Findings show that most of the legislation reflects the bio-medical approach,” the researchers wrote. “Bio-medical-based legislation is being carried out in Israel alongside rights-based legislation even after the enactment of the Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Law of 1998. It seems that legislators tend to perceive disability as synonymous to impairment, as a personal tragedy and a medical problem, rather than as a civil rights issue.”

In another paper, a University of Notre Dame researcher examined policy documents for Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme. “Although my study finds some evidence of openness in the policy development stage, the scheme falls short of valuing the diverse voices of disabled people as partners in shared dialogue,” the author wrote.

Rimmerman, Arie, Michal Soffer, Dana David, Tsilly Dagan, Roni Rothler, and Lior Mishaly. “Mapping the Terrain of Disability Legislation: The Case of Israel.” Disability & Society 30, no. 1 (January 2, 2015): 46–58. doi:10.1080/09687599.2014.982784. (Absract)

Thill, Cate. “Listening for Policy Change: How the Voices of Disabled People Shaped Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme.” Disability & Society 30, no. 1 (January 2, 2015): 15–28. doi:10.1080/09687599.2014.987220. (Abstract)


  1. These problems are most pronounced for “mental illness” folks but also true for every other kind of disability, real or perceived. My friend went to school with a blind girl who despite being highly intelligent and keen to learn had to choose a musical school in order to avoid “special ed” and being thrown in with all the other “disabled kids” regardless of what this word meant. People with physical disabilities also are constantly met with the “I’m going to help you and I know what you need” attitude which is demeaning and ultimately counterproductive. Instead of asking people who have the actual problem about what they want all kinds of legislative and other initiatives are pushed by “well-meaning” guys who then can show off how pro-disabled they are.

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  2. The link to the Australian article directs to the Israel article.

    In Western Australia our government has stated that the rights of patients are options at the discretion of the doctor.

    If you have $800,000 and 10 years of court proceedings you might manage to purchase a right to consent. Otherwise you will just have to be subjected to whatever it is doctor wants. The legislation would be fine, if the spirit of the Act were followed, but through the perversion of the law, and the negligence of the person who is charged with protecting the rights of patients, doctors have carte blanche and zero accountability. And if one attends a doctor here it shows in the arrogance they display.

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    • “Doctors have carte blanche and zero accountability.” That’s basically what’s going on in the US as well. And the US has apparently been importing the worst of the worst of the doctors from around the world. So now, in the US, if you suffer from a “bad fix” on a broken bone, at which your PCP’s husband had unbeknownst to you been the “attending physician.” Resulting in your PCP being paranoid of a nonexistent malpractice suit.

      You should expect to be put on psychotropics, but lied to and told they’re “safe … meds.” Then railroaded off to psychiatrists to have the common adverse effects of those drugs misdiagnosed as a “life long incurable genetic mental illness.” Then you should expect to be poisoned with known major drug interactions by the psychiatrists.

      I’m quite certain a mainstream medical industry that has such a known for decades by the religions, “dirty little secret” way of harming patients, is not ethical enough to be given unchecked power. And let’s be real, power corrupts and absolute power always corrupts absolutely.

      The medical industry is not ethical enough to be given the right to force tranquilize patients, and the neuroleptics / antipsychotics are major tranquilizers, and known to be nothing more than that for over sixty years.

      Wake up politicians, the medical industry is completely corrupted.

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      • You know what I found funny in a strange sort of way SomeoneElse? That the ‘people on the ground’ were committing acts of fraud to overcome the protections affroded by the Mental Health Act, and those charged with protecting those rights don’t know what they are. Hence there isn’t even a need to commit the act of fraud in the first place.

        Community nurse fabricates evidence of mental illness to overcome the protection of “reasonable grounds”. Complaint to Chief Psychiatrist, ‘what protection, there isn’t any. You can be locked up because tomato? They should really get their heads together because the community nurse is going to all the trouble of fabricating evidence, and the Chief Psychiatrist says they don’t need evidence to lock someone up and forcefully drug them.

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        • Actually, I note with interest a shift away from using a persons religious beliefs as a means to manufacture symptoms of paranoia, to the use of the ‘internet’ for the same purpose. Installing anti spyware software has become the fabrication of paranoia.

          Who said psychiatry wasn’t up with the latest info lol.

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          • It’s all upside down and backwards, boans. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Societies controlled by and for large, for profit only, unaccountable corporations are inhumane. And today’s psychiatric system is just as scientifically invalid and evil as the psychiatric system in the Nazi era.

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  3. Okay… seriously? In this country, in order to keep the mentally ill from being established as a suspect class protected under the law, Congress formed the APA, you know, because they were so concerned that falsifying their findings on abuse and discrimination and labeling them as disabled seemed like the best way to assure their rights were respected? Has this journalist been covering her eyes all this time?

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