Can a disability service stop me taking risks to keep me safe?

Your Right to Take Risks

Everybody makes decisions about how much risk they want to take.

Some people don’t like to go on scary rides at theme parks. Other people love them.  Some people like to go swimming in surf beaches. Other people prefer to stay in the swimming pool.

The Disability Act says that disability service providers must respect your wishes. This means your rights should not be ignored or restricted just because something could go wrong.

A disability service provider must do what they can to make sure the services they give you are provided safely. But they can’t take away your right to take reasonable risks.  Taking risks is part of life. It is an important way for everyone to learn what they are capable of.

If you make your wishes clear but there is a risk involved, the disability service provider must find an option that restricts your freedom as little as possible.


Disability service providers must make sure that they do not risk your safety.  It is important to understand the difference.  You have a right to take risks.  The disability services provider does not have a right to take risks for you.  This can mean finding the right balance in some situations.

The Disability Act makes it clear that safety can’t be used as an excuse to stop you from making choices in your own life.  At the same time, your right to take risks can’t be used as an excuse to provide you with services that are not safe.

If you are concerned about your safety, or your right to independence, you have the right to discuss this with the disability service provider.  If you can’t work it out with them, you can ask an advocate for help, or complaint to the Disability Services Commissioner.

Getting help with this

Level 30, 570 Bourke Street Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone:1800 677 342
Fax: (03) 8608 5765
TTY: 1300 726 563
Email: complaints@odsc.vic.gov.au
Website: http://www.odsc.vic.gov.au/