DWDV survey of attitudes to voluntary assisted dying

In late 2022, Dying With Dignity Victoria (DWDV) invited contacts via email, its website and social media to complete a survey of their experience with – or understanding of – voluntary assisted dying.

Interestingly, of the received 677 responses, 72% were from people identifying as female. 41% of all respondents had had some involvement with the VAD process, most of which (89%) had been in Victoria.

Of the respondents, 16% were professionally involved in the VAD process, while some 21% were involved with a friend/loved one accessing VAD.

62% of respondents were aware of some problems with the VAD process.

The following chart shows the ways in which most respondents would like to see the current provisions of the law changed. Very few would oppose any of the canvassed possible changes.

Of the 435 who considered the criteria should be broadened, 114/26% mentioned dementia.

The Victorian VAD Act requires that death must be expected to occur within 6 months or, in the case of neurodegenerative illness, within 12 months. Survey respondents were largely of the view that:

These times are NOT appropriate, and

It should simply be stated that death must be ‘reasonably foreseeable’, or

Suffering should be the key criterion for accessing VAD, rather than having a terminal illness.

Many respondents consistently identified a number of problem issues.

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