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ENNHRI and Mental Health Europe Report: Implementing supported decision-making

Persons with disabilities have a history of being recognised as unable to exercise their rights, such as the right to vote, because "of their lack of capacity to understand or to perform certain acts". As a result, persons with disabilities are often forced into substitute decision-making regimes, stripping them of the opportunity to contribute to society and to perform activities such as voting, parenting or opening a bank account. The European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and Mental Health Europe partnered up to draft a report on the importance to switch from substitute decision-making to supported decision-making, where persons with disabilities can exercise their rights and take their own decision with the help of a third party.
Here are the arguments in favour and the characteristics of supported decision-making listed in their report by ENNHRI and Mental Health Europe:

  • It is in line with the principles of human rights and International Law.
  • It ensures the will of persons with disabilities is respected.
  • It guarantees freedom of choice to persons with disabilities, including the ability to refuse assistance.
  • It implies persons with disabilities must receive correct and accessible information about the nature of the help that will be provided.
  • The help must be person-centred and, therefore, flexible and adaptable to the needs of the user.
  • Supported decision-making must be available to al those who request it.
  • Non-necessary external influences are to be avoided.
  • "States must adopt a community-based approach to the provision of decision-making support".
  • An impartial body must periodically assess the quality of the support provided and the compliance to the rights of the user.
  • "The dignity of risk needs to be accepted, which entail s placing greater value on the individual's right to decide even when decisions seem unreasonable or risky to others".

This report features the work of EASPD member SUPPORT.

Click here for the full report.