Rights of children, families and people with autism

People with ASD and their families have a right to be part of the community, participate in education, work and to access the services they need.

The rights of families and people with ASD are protected under a number of pieces of legislation at the national and state level. This includes The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) The Disability Act 2006 (Vic) The Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Vic) and the Victorian Charter of Human rights and Responsibilities 2006 (Vic)
For more information about specific pieces of legislation – see legislation

If you feel the rights of your child or family have been violated or you have been discriminated against you can approach the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to make a complaint.

Complaints: 9am–5pm Monday to Friday
Phone: 1300 891 848

People with autism have the same rights and responsibilities as other adults in the community. The rights of people with disabilities in Victoria are protected by the Disability Act 2006.
People with disabilities have the same rights as others to be treated with dignity, respect and to be free from abuse and neglect and from treatment against their will. They have the right to manage their own finances and make their own decisions.

If a person needs support with managing their finances or making their own decisions they can have a guardian or a trustee appointed for them through VCAT and the office of the Public Advocate.

Office of the public advocate-
Tel 1300 309 337 (local call cost)

State Trustees
phone on 1300 138 672
or (03) 9667 6466

More information on the Disability Act 2006

People with autism have the right to access education at the school of their choosing and to ask for modifications to ensure they are on an equal footing to those without a disability . Modification to the environment, assessment and learning materials  must be made if a person requires it. This includes primary, secondary and tertiary education providers.

To make a complaint to the education department see the process at-


At Work
You do not have to put up with bullying, harassment or discrimination at work if you have autism or are a parent/carer of a child or person with autism. Flexible work options should also be made available to you (through negotiation with your employer) if you are a carer.

See HREOC – for more information about flexible work options or being discriminated against

Bullying or harassment in the workplace-

Families/parents/carers and individuals with autism have rights as service users. Service providers should provide a list of your rights and responsibilities as a service user to you in writing. This information should be in a language or format (including easy read) you understand, and information about eligibility for service and costs should also be provided.

Most disability support agencies and service providers will have complaints, disputes and discrimination policies, if you feel the service has discriminated against you or you are unhappy with your service, make a complaint.

Tips for making a complaint

• Take notes/ document with dates any issues.
• Not whom you spoke with and what time.
• Provide a factual written account of what happened.
• Take an advocate or support person with you to any meetings.

If you are unhappy with the way the complaint was dealt with by a service provider, you can contact the Disability Services Commissioner. The Disability Services Commissioner deals with complaints about disability services in Victoria.
Note- the Commissioner cannot deal with a complaint made against a private entity and cannot adjudicate to increase the amount of service and individual receives- i.e. more respite hours.
The Commissioner can however seek to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of both parties.

The Disability Services Commissioner –

Phone; 1800 677 342 (free call)
WEB: http://www.odsc.vic.gov.au/ 
Email : Complaints@odsc.vic.gov.au
Address: Level 30, 570 Bourke Street Melbourne 3000


• You have a right to be part of the community, access services and have input into the care and treatment of the child or young person with autism
• People with autism have the same rights and responsibilities as other adults in the community.

• People with autism/disabilities have the right not to be treated inhumanely or against their will and to have input into planning, their care and support, as well as where they live and in all other aspects of their lives. They also have the right to manage their own finances and make decisions for themselves.

• Service providers should explain your rights as a service user to you in writing.

• If you feel your rights have been violated or you have been discriminated against seek support from an advocate or Human Rights or Equal Opportunity Commission

• Make a complaint in writing about a disability service if you need to the Disability Services Commissioner

• All children with autism have the right to access education on the same footing as those without a disability

• People with autism being discriminated against, harassed or bullied in the workplace have right to make a complaint or report bullying and harassment to work safe.


Disability Act 2006 (Victoria)

In 2006 the Disability Act was enacted by the State government of Victoria. It replaced the existing Intellectually Disabled Persons Services Act

The Disability Act enables all people diagnosed with a disability to

• Exercise control over their own lives and make choices
• live free from abuse and neglect,
• access the services they need
• Have input in planning
• Receive information in a format they understand.
• Not be subject to restrictive interventions such as medication, restraint and seclusion
• The Act also sets out that services have special responsibilities to work with the families of children with disabilities in a supportive way and recognise that they are their own best expert on their needs.
• The Act promotes the rights of people with disabilities as citizens in the community with full rights and responsibilities.
• The Act supports the rights of people with disabilities to make a complaint to the Disability Services Commissioner
• The Act sets out standards for disability services to adhere to and disability services will now be audited and monitored against the standards

For more information about the disability act please see

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights (2006)

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights legislates that in the state of Victoria the human rights of all people will be respected, promoted and protected.  The legislation applies to public authorities or those responsible for delivering public services . (For example Local council, Department of Human Services, Public health care providers, Public schools etc)    The legislation does not apply to the private sector.   The legislation also means that any new laws passed must be compatible with human rights.

Rights protected include

The right to life

Freedom from cruel or inhumane treatment

The right to privacy

The right to freedom of movement

The rights of children and families

Equality before the law

there are many other tights also protected by the charter.

For more information about the Charter of Human Rights go to



The Disability Discrimination Act

The Disability Discrimination Act (1992)   makes it illegal for people in Australia to be discriminated against on the grounds of

Physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological or learning disabilities;

physical disfigurement;

disorders, illness or diseases that affect thought processes, perceptions of reality, emotions or judgment, or results in disturbed behaviour;

presence in body of organisms causing disease or illness (eg HIV virus).

Areas covered


access to premises;


buying or selling land;

activities of clubs;


administration of Commonwealth laws and programs;

provision of goods; and services and facilities.

Process for decision making
Complaints must be in writing.   The complaint is then reviewed to see if it should be terminated or if it is suitable for conciliation. If the complaint cannot be conciliated, it will be terminated by the President of the Commission. A complainant may then take the matter to the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Court.

for more information about the Disability Discrimination Act please see