Frequently Asked Questions
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What is a disability?
The Office of the Public Advocate operates according to the Victorian Guardianship and Administration Act 1986. Under this Act disability means intellectual impairment, mental disorder, brain injury, physical disability or dementia.
There is no universally accepted definition of disability. The United Nations emphasises that disability is a problem created by society and not an attribute of an individual. Many people have illnesses or conditions that affect physical or mental function. However, disability is created when the social and physical environment does not meet the needs of all people.
Definitions of disability and disability types are created to serve many purposes. Government departments create definitions to determine who is eligible for services. Definitions allow researchers to focus on particular disability types. People with similar disabilities often find support in talking to each other.
What is a cognitive disability?
A cognitive disability affects a person’s ability to think. Several types of disability are referred to as cognitive disabilities. These are dementia, intellectual disability and acquired brain injury. Mental illness can also cause cognitive disability. However, mental illness severe enough to substantially impair thinking only affects a small percentage of people.
What is VCAT?
VCAT is the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. It is a Tribunal that makes decisions about a range of disputes. It has a number of sections called ‘lists’. The Guardianship List deals with guardianship, administration, powers of attorney and related matters.
To find out more about VCAT visit www.vcat.vic.gov.au
What is State Trustees?
State Trustees is a state owned company that helps people with their financial needs. State Trustees provides a range of services including financial support for people who cannot manage their own affairs because of their disability. State Trustees acts as an administrator for people with disabilities when appointed by VCAT.
To find out more about State Trustees visit www.statetrustees.com.au
Who can witness statutory declarations in Victoria?
Any of the following people may witness the signing of a statutory declaration:
- a Justice of the Peace or a Bail Justice
- a Notary Public
- a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria
- a clerk to a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria
- the Prothonotary or a Deputy Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of Victoria
- the Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the County Court of Victoria
- the Principal Registrar of the Magistrates\' Court of Victoria
- a Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the Magistrates\' Court of Victoria
- the Registrar of Probates or the Assistant Registrar of Probates
- the Associate to a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria or the County Court of Victoria
- the Secretary of a Master of the Supreme Court of Victoria
- a person registered as a Patent Attorney under Part XV of the Patents Act 1952 (Cth)
- a member of the police force
- the Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff
- a member or a former member of either House of the Parliament of Victoria
- a member or a former member of either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth
- a councillor of a municipality
- a senior officer of a council as defined in Local Government Act 1989
- a registered medical practitioner within the meaning of the Medical Practice Act 1994
- a dentist
- a veterinary practitioner
- a pharmacist
- a principal in the teaching service
- the manager of a bank
- a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia or the Australian Society of Accountants or the National Institute of Accountants
- the secretary of a building society
- a minister of religion authorised to celebrate marriages (not a civil celebrant)
- a person employed under Part 3 of the Public Sector Management and Employment Act 1998 with a classification that is prescribed as a classification for statutory declarations or who holds office in a statutory authority with such a classification, and
- a fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives (Victoria)
(Source: Section 107A of the Evidence Act 1958)