The Mental Health Act 1963 was based on British legislation.
By avoiding offensive terms (such as mental deficiency or mentally defective) in the language of the Act, its framers hoped to change public attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness.
The Mental Deficiency Act 1920 had a category of moral deficiency for which people could be brought under the guardianship of the Mental Deficiency Board. In the case of girls and women this category often meant defying contemporary attitudes towards sexual behaviour. The Mental Health Act 1963 specifically stated that 'promiscuity' was not an indication of a 'mental disorder'.
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The Find & Connect Support Service can help people who lived in orphanages and children's institutions look for their records.
20 July 2023
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/tas/TE00010
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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