Timeline of disability rights outside the United States

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This disability rights timeline lists events outside the United States relating to the civil rights of people with disabilities, including court decisions, the passage of legislation, activists' actions, significant abuses of people with disabilities, and the founding of various organizations. Although the disability rights movement itself began in the 1960s, advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities started much earlier and continues to the present.


Prior to the 1700s



"that every man is to be presumed to be sane, and... that to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong." [13] :632 The rules so formulated as M'Naghten's Case 1843 10 C & F 200 [14] have been a standard test for criminal liability in relation to mentally disordered defendants in common law jurisdictions ever since, with some minor adjustments. When the tests set out by the Rules are satisfied, the accused may be adjudged "not guilty by reason of insanity" or "guilty but insane" and the sentence may be a mandatory or discretionary (but usually indeterminate) period of treatment in a secure hospital facility, or otherwise at the discretion of the court (depending on the country and the offence charged) instead of a punitive disposal. The insanity defence is recognized in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Hong Kong, India, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, and Norway (as well as most U.S. states with the exception of Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Utah, and Vermont [15] ) but not all of these jurisdictions still use the M'Naghten Rules.







(1) Where a person kills or is party to a killing of another, he shall not be convicted of murder if he was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning which –

(1A) Those things are –

(1B) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c), an abnormality of mental functioning provides and explanation of D's conduct if it causes, or is a significant contributory factor in causing, D to carry out that conduct.

The defence has recently been amended by s. 52 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which came into force on 4 October 2010. [64] As well, R v Golds [65] provides a recent authority from the Court of Appeal Criminal Division on how the courts will interpret the term 'substantial' in regard to the Homicide Act 1957. At paragraph [55] of Elias LJ's judgment (following the paragraphing from the neutral citation given below) two senses of the word 'substantial' are identified: (i) something substantial is more than something which is merely trivial or minimal owing to the fact that it has "substance", or (ii) something substantial is big or large (e.g. in the sense that a substantial salary is a large one). At paragraph [72] Elias LJ concludes by opining that the court should (i) leave interpretation of the word 'substantial' to the jury, but if asked for further help should (ii) direct them under the second meaning of the term (i.e. substantial meaning big).


(1) The Quota System: General employers including the government and municipal offices are obligated to employ disabled workers in excess of the quota. The legal quota was: Governmental bodies – 2. 0% (Non-clerical – 1. 9%) Private enterprises – 1. 6% (Specialized juridical person – 1. 9%) The quota was changed in 1998 as follows: Governmental bodies – 2. 1% (Non-clerical – 1. 9%) Private enterprises – 1. 8% (Specialized juridical person – 2. 1%) This ratio does not include mentally ill persons. Employers are obligated to report the number of disabled workers they employ to the head of the Public Employment Security Office annually. This office may announce to the public the names of enterprises who fail to meet the quota and request them to draw up plan for employment of disabled persons to meet the quota.
(2) The Levy and Grant System: This system works by collecting levy from those enterprises that fail to achieve the quota of disabled workers. The funds created by the levy system are used to encourage employers who employ disabled persons above the quota and to promote disabled workers' employment and improve working conditions. Collection of Levies: ¥50,000 a month per person (with more than 300 full-time employees.) Payment of Adjustment Allowance: ¥25,000 per month per person will be paid to the employers who employ disabled workers more than the legal quota (with more than 300 full-time employees). Payment of Rewards: ¥17,000 per month per person will be paid to the employers who employ disabled workers in excess of the fixed number (with less than 300 full-time employees). Payment of Grants: For establishment of work facilities, special employment management, vocational adjustment, ability development, etc. to promote such employment.
(3) Public Vocational Training Allowance for disabled persons and a loan system of funds for purchasing of technical aids and equipments. [54]

"There they stand, isolated, majestic, imperious, brooded over by the gigantic water-tower and chimney combined, rising unmistakable and daunting out of the countryside - the asylums which our forefathers built with such immense solidity to express the notions of their day. Do not for a moment underestimate their powers of resistance to our assault. Let me describe some of the defenses which we have to storm." [75]


"Article 2 (Definition): "Disabled persons" as used in this Law means persons whose daily life or life in society is substantially limited over the long term due to a physical disability, mental retardation or mental disability.
Article 3 (Fundamental Principles): The dignity of all disabled persons shall be respected. They shall have the right to be treated accordingly. All disabled persons shall, as members of society, be provided with opportunities to fully participate in such a manner.
Article 4 (Responsibilities of the State and Local Public Entities): The State and local public bodies shall be responsible for promoting the welfare of disabled persons and for preventing disabilities.
Article 5 (Responsibilities of the Nation): The nation shall, on the basis of the principle of social solidarity, endeavor to cooperate in promoting the welfare of disabled persons.
Article 6 (Efforts to Achieve Independence): Disabled persons shall endeavor to participate actively in social and economic activities by making effective use of the abilities they possess. The family members of disabled persons shall endeavor to promote independence of disabled persons.
Article 6-2 (Disabled Persons' Day): Disabled Persons' Day shall be established for the purpose of raising the public awareness to the welfare of disabled persons and stimulating disabled persons' desire to actively participate in social, economic, cultural and other areas of activity.
Article 7 (Fundamental Policies): The measures regarding the welfare of disabled persons shall be carried out according to their age and to the types and severity of disabilities."

There are other fundamental principles in this law regarding programs for persons with disability covering the State, Metropolitan and prefectural governments, and cities, towns and villages; as well as those regarding medicine, education, employment, pension, housing, public facilities, information, culture, sports, etc. The total number of the Articles of this law is 29. [54] [91]

"- We identify ourselves as people with Cerebral Palsy (CP). We recognize our position as 'an existence which should not exist,' in the modern society. We believe that this recognition should be the starting point of our whole movement, and we act on this belief.

– We assert ourselves aggressively. When we identify ourselves as people with CP, we have a will to protect ourselves. We believe that a strong self-assertion is the only way to achieve self-protection, and we act on this belief.

– We deny love and justice. We condemn egoism held by love and justice. We believe that mutual understanding, accompanying the human observation which arises from the denial of love and justice, means the true well-being, and we act on this belief.

– We do not choose the way of problem solving. We have learnt from our personal experiences that easy solutions to problems lead to dangerous compromises. We believe that an endless confrontation is the only course of action possible for us, and we act on this belief." [92] This declaration became an epoch making event in the Japanese disability movement. [93] Later a fifth point was added, stating in full, "We deny able-bodied civilization. We recognize that modern civilization has managed to sustain itself only by excluding us, people with CP. We believe that creation of our own culture through our movement and daily life leads to the condemnation of modern civilization, and we act on this belief." [92]




(a) that, at the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or after doing so, the offender demonstrated towards the victim of the offence hostility based on—
(i) the sexual orientation (or presumed sexual orientation) of the victim, or
(ii) a disability (or presumed disability) of the victim, or
(b) that the offence is motivated (wholly or partly)—
(i) by hostility towards persons who are of a particular sexual orientation, or
(ii) by hostility towards persons who have a disability or a particular disability. [167]

It introduces significant changes which include:

1. Introduction of Supervised Community Treatment, including Community Treatment Orders (CTOs). This new power replaces supervised discharge with a power to return the patient to hospital, where the person may be forcibly medicated, if the medication regime is not being complied with in the community. 2. Redefining professional roles: broadening the range of mental health professionals who can be responsible for the treatment of patients without their consent. 3. Creating the role of approved clinician, which is a registered healthcare professional (social worker, nurse, psychologist or occupational therapist) approved by the appropriate authority to act for purposes of the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended). 4. Replacing the role of approved social worker by the role of approved mental health professional; the person fulfilling this role need not be a social worker. [191] 5. Nearest relative: making it possible for some patients to appoint a civil partner as nearest relative. 6. Definition of mental disorder: introduce a new definition of mental disorder throughout the Act, abolishing previous categories 7. Criteria for Involuntary commitment: introduce a requirement that someone cannot be detained for treatment unless appropriate treatment is available and removes the treatability test. 8. Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT): improve patient safeguards by taking an order-making power which will allow the current time limit to be varied and for automatic referral by hospital managers to the MHRT. 9. Introduction of independent mental health advocates (IMHAs) for 'qualifying patients'. 10. Electroconvulsive Therapy may not be given to a patient who has capacity to refuse consent to it, and may only be given to an incapacitated patient where it does not conflict with any advance directive, decision of a donee or deputy or decision of the Court of Protection. [190] [192]



Related Research Articles

Involuntary commitment, civil commitment, or involuntary hospitalization/hospitalisation is a legal process through which an individual who is deemed by a qualified person to have symptoms of severe mental disorder is detained in a psychiatric hospital (inpatient) where they can be treated involuntarily. This treatment may involve the administration of psychoactive drugs, including involuntary administration. In many jurisdictions, people diagnosed with mental health disorders can also be forced to undergo treatment while in the community; this is sometimes referred to as outpatient commitment and shares legal processes with commitment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Psychiatric hospital</span> Hospital specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders

Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental health hospitals, or behavioral health hospitals are hospitals or wards specializing in the treatment of severe mental disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, dissociative identity disorder, major depressive disorder, and others.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mental health law</span>

Mental health law includes a wide variety of legal topics and pertain to people with a diagnosis or possible diagnosis of a mental health condition, and to those involved in managing or treating such people. Laws that relate to mental health include:

The Lanterman–Petris–Short (LPS) Act regulates involuntary civil commitment to a mental health institution in the state of California. The act set the precedent for modern mental health commitment procedures in the United States. The bipartisan bill was co-authored by California State Assemblyman Frank D. Lanterman (R) and California State Senators Nicholas C. Petris (D) and Alan Short (D), and signed into law in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan. The Act went into full effect on July 1, 1972. It cited seven articles of intent:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lunacy Act 1845</span> United Kingdom legislation

The Lunacy Act 1845 or the Lunatics Act 1845 and the County Asylums Act 1845 formed mental health law in England and Wales from 1845 to 1890. The Lunacy Act's most important provision was a change in the status of mentally ill people to patients.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mental Health Act 1983</span> Law in England and Wales

The Mental Health Act 1983 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It covers the reception, care and treatment of mentally disordered people, the management of their property and other related matters, forming part of the mental health law for the people in England and Wales. In particular, it provides the legislation by which people diagnosed with a mental disorder can be detained in a hospital or police custody and have their disorder assessed or treated against their wishes, informally known as "sectioning". Its use is reviewed and regulated by the Care Quality Commission. The Act was significantly amended by the Mental Health Act 2007. A white paper proposing changes to the act was published in 2021 following an independent review of the act by Simon Wessely.

Involuntary treatment refers to medical treatment undertaken without the consent of the person being treated. Involuntary treatment is permitted by law in some countries when overseen by the judiciary through court orders; other countries defer directly to the medical opinions of doctors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deinstitutionalisation</span> Replacement of psychiatric hospitals

Deinstitutionalisation is the process of replacing long-stay psychiatric hospitals with less isolated community mental health services for those diagnosed with a mental disorder or developmental disability. In the late 20th century, it led to the closure of many psychiatric hospitals, as patients were increasingly cared for at home, in halfway houses and clinics, in regular hospitals, or not at all.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alleged Lunatics' Friend Society</span>

The Alleged Lunatics' Friend Society was an advocacy group started by former asylum patients and their supporters in 19th-century Britain. The Society campaigned for greater protection against wrongful confinement or cruel and improper treatment, and for reform of the lunacy laws. The Society is recognised today as a pioneer of the psychiatric survivors movement.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kew Asylum</span> Former hospital in Victoria, Australia

Kew Lunatic Asylum is a decommissioned psychiatric hospital located between Princess Street and Yarra Boulevard in Kew, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Operational from 1871 to 1988, Kew was one of the largest asylums ever built in Australia. Later known as Willsmere, the complex of buildings were constructed between 1864 and 1872 to the design of architects G.W. Vivian and Frederick Kawerau of the Victorian Public Works Office to house the growing number of "lunatics", "inebriates", and "idiots" in the Colony of Victoria.

Sanism, saneism, mentalism, or psychophobia refers to the systemic discrimination against or oppression of individuals perceived to have a mental disorder or cognitive impairment. This discrimination and oppression are based on numerous factors such as stereotypes about neurodiversity. Mentalism impacts individuals with autism, learning disorders, ADHD, FASD, bipolar, schizophrenia, personality disorders, stuttering, tics, intellectual disabilities, and other cognitive impairments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sunbury Asylum</span> Hospital in Victoria, Australia

Sunbury Lunatic Asylum was a 19th-century mental health facility known as a lunatic asylum, located in Sunbury, Victoria, Australia, first opened in October 1879.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lunatic asylum</span> Place for housing the insane, an aspect of history

The lunatic asylum, insane asylum or mental asylum was an institution where people with mental illness were confined. It was an early precursor of the modern psychiatric hospital.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New York State Department of Mental Hygiene</span> Department of the New York state government

The Department of Mental Hygiene (DMH) is an agency of the New York state government composed of three autonomous offices:

This disability rights timeline lists events relating to the civil rights of people with disabilities in the United States of America, including court decisions, the passage of legislation, activists' actions, significant abuses of people with disabilities, and the founding of various organizations. Although the disability rights movement itself began in the 1960s, advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities started much earlier and continues to the present.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to psychiatry:

Morton Birnbaum was an American lawyer and physician who advocated for the right of psychiatric patients to have adequate, humane care, and who coined the term sanism.

The rights of mental health patients in New Zealand are covered in law by both the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and The Code of Health and Disability Service Consumers' Rights. Section 11 of the Bill of Rights Act states that "everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment". However the Mental Health Act 1992 allows for the compulsory treatment of patients with major mental illness who do not consent. This legislation also allows for the detention and treatment of individuals who have committed crimes but who have either been deemed unfit to plead or have been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Mental healthcare generally refers to services ranging from assessment, diagnosis, treatment, to counseling, dedicated to maintaining and restoring mental well being of people. In Nigeria, there is significant disparity between the demand and supply of mental health services. Though there are policies aimed at addressing mental health issues in Nigeria, in-depth information on mental health service in Nigeria is non-existent. This makes it difficult to identify areas of needs, coordinate activities of advocacy groups, and make an informed decision about policy direction. In effect, there is continued neglect of mental health issues. About 25-30 percent of Nigerians suffer from mental illness and less than 10 percent of this population have access to professional assistance. The World Health Organization estimates that only about three percent of the government's budget on health goes to mental health.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mental health in India</span> Overview of mental health care system in India

Mental healthcare in India is a right secured to every person in the country by law. Indian mental health legislation, as per a 2017 study, meets 68% (119/175) of the World Health Organization (WHO) standards laid down in the WHO Checklist of Mental Health Legislation. However, human resources and expertise in the field of mental health in India is significantly low when compared to the population of the country. The allocation of the national healthcare budget to mental health is also low, standing at 0.16%. India's mental health policy was released in 2014.


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