When can physical restraint be authorised by guardians?

In February 2022, VCAT published advice about when and how an appointed guardian can authorise the use of forcible physical restraint in order to administer medication to people under their guardianship. The advice was provided in response to a request from the Office of the Public Advocate, and after a hearing on the issues that included the Attorney-General, the Department of Health and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission intervening.

This webinar will explore:

  • why the Office of the Public Advocate sought VCAT’s advice regarding the scope of the Office of the Public Advocate’s powers to authorise physical restraint
  • a brief background of the case and the advice, including the application of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities to guardians and VCAT
  • any potentially far-reaching consequences of the advice, and
  • the practical implications of VCAT’s advice for guardians and those under guardianship orders.

Presenters for this event:

  • Gabby Watson-Munro is a Senior Legal Adviser at the Commission who led the Commission’s intervention in the Guardianship case. Prior to working at the Commission, Gabby worked as a Senior Lawyer in the Equality Law Program at Victoria Legal Aid. Gabby specialises in human rights, discrimination, equality and employment law.
  • Eleanore Fritze is the principal solicitor at the Office of the Public Advocate. Prior to that role, she worked at VLA for 15 years, principally in the Mental Health and Disability Law team, as well as teaching various disability rights subjects at Melbourne Law School.
  • Sonia Gardiner is a Senior Medical Treatment Decisions Officer, Office of the Public Advocate. Sonia trained as a social worker and began her career in child protection, before moving in to hospital social work for seven years.  She joined Office of the Public Advocate 11 years ago, initially as an advocate guardian and with the introduction of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act in 2018, she has been the team leader of Office of the Public Advocate’s Medical Decisions Team.

Presented by Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
Office of the Public Advocate

Thursday 19 May

Live online event
This event is free
Book now


We will be aiming to provide live captioning. If you require further adjustments, please advise us of your specific needs two weeks ahead of the session times.