Safeguarding Ireland Disability Survey
13 Sep, 2021
The Decision Supports Service welcomes the publication today of Safeguarding Ireland’s survey: Public attitudes on disability in Ireland.
One finding is particularly striking: only 43% of respondents believe that persons with an intellectual disability are supported adequately to make their own decisions. In other words, at least two in five people believe that more should be done. Of note, older respondents to the survey were more likely to believe that supports are insufficient. It is hoped that the full commencement of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 and the Decision Support Service will improve the situation for persons with intellectual disability and those who care for them. The target date for full commencement is June 2022.
The guiding principles of the 2015 Act emphasise respect for dignity, bodily integrity, privacy, and the person’s right to control over their own financial affairs and property. A person whose decision-making capacity is in question must be permitted, encouraged and facilitated to participate in the decision-making that affects them. As a priority, the person’s will and preferences must be respected as far as practicable.
“There has been a lot of commentary about the cultural shift required under the Act,” said the Director of the Decision Support Service, Áine Flynn. “From our engagement with multiple stakeholders, we believe that the shift in health and social care and in disability services towards a model of participatory decision-making is already well underway. This survey tells us that there is more work to do. After commencement, it will be important that all persons who require them have access to the practical supports available under the 2015 Act.
“For our part, the DSS is committed to delivering a service that is accessible and person-centred. We will be continuing with focus groups facilitated by Inclusion Ireland to help us build systems and processes that are fit for purpose. Ongoing feedback will be important. As part of our stakeholder engagement initiative, we also look forward to welcoming representatives from Inclusion Ireland to the monthly meeting to the Board of the MHC later this week.”