Are supported decision-making alternatives available to all persons with disabilities?


A supported decision-making regime comprises various support options which give primacy to a person’s will and preferences and respect human rights norms. It should provide protection for all rights, including those related to autonomy (right to legal capacity, right to equal recognition before the law, right to choose where to live, etc.) and rights related to freedom from abuse and ill-treatment (right to life, right to physical integrity, etc.). This distinguishes supported decision-making from substituted decision-making, where the guardian or tutor has court-authorized power to make decisions on behalf of the individual without necessarily having to demonstrate that those decisions are in the individual’s best interest or according to his/her wishes. States’ obligation to replace substitute decision-making regimes by supported decision-making requires both the abolition of substitute decision-making regimes and the development of supported decision-making alternatives.

In detail

There is still a lot to do in terms of equal recognition before the law, in particular in terms of monitory mechanisms which lack in various countries and guardianship systems that still exist in many countries. While 43% of respondents stated supported decision-making alternatives are available but not to all persons with disabilities or lack in adequate support for their realisation, 41% claimed they are not available. respondents highlighted several issues including:

  • The problem of little knowledge on the freedom of speech for PWDs.
  • No monitoring- no policies or institution monitoring independent decision making
  • A replacement system is common for decision making- i.e.: guardians.