There are many degrees of intellectual disability. The definitions and accepted diagnostic test for determining whether or not a person has an intellectual disability are explained along with key legislation. It is vital that each person’s case be assessed individually, and that the views of the person who has an intellectual disability always be sought, taken into account and, wherever possible, acted upon. All people with Autism Spectrum Disorders can now be considered for disability services.


Naomi Anderson

Principal Solicitor, Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service

Key legislation: Intellectual disability and the law

A number of federal and Victorian state laws have provisions related to people with an intellectual disability, including:

  • Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (‘Crimes Act (Cth)’)
  • Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (‘Crimes Act (Vic)’);
  • Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) (‘Crimes (MIUT) Act’);
  • Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) (‘CP Act’);
  • Disability Act 2006 (Vic) (‘Disability Act’);
  • Evidence Act 2008 (Vic) (‘Evidence Act’); 
  • Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) (‘Sentencing Act’).
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Disability, mental illness and the law