Section 5 of the 1920 Mental Deficiency Act defines this term as:
'persons who from an early age display some permanent mental defect coupled with strong vicious or criminal propensities on which punishment has little or no deterrent effect.'
The Act established the Mental Deficiency Board to supervise children and adults diagnosed with moral imbecility and other categories of so called mental deficiency. It also established the State Psychological Clinic which diagnosed children and adults as mentally defective.
Officials detained some sexually active young unmarried women under this category.
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The Find & Connect Support Service can help people who lived in orphanages and children's institutions look for their records.
07 November 2017
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/tas/TE00205
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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