Strengthening justice and family violence system responses to mental health

Strengthening justice and family violence system responses to mental health

Thursday, 13 February 2020

We encourage the Productivity Commission to make stronger recommendations to improve the way justice and family violence systems respond to mental health issues, as it finalises its inquiry into mental health in Australia.

The Productivity Commission’s draft report, released in October 2019, contained many welcome suggestions for reform, including highlighting the importance of consumer leadership in the mental health system.

We strongly support the draft recommendations aimed at improving access for people with mental health issues to safe housing, legal representation and non-legal advocacy, and high-quality psychosocial supports regardless of whether or not they are National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.

‘The Productivity Commission has identified many important draft findings and recommendations, and we welcome the opportunity to suggest further changes for consideration,’ said Rowan McRae, Executive Director, Civil Justice, Access and Equity said.

‘These include the expansion of therapeutic courts and health justice partnerships, as well as changes to the mental health and other services systems to ensure they consider and respond appropriately to the effects of family violence and other trauma.’

We also encourage the Productivity Commission to make recommendations to reduce the rates of compulsory and coercive treatment, and to address the relationship between poverty, inadequate social security supports and mental health issues.

We have also provided further information on five questions posed by the Productivity Commission when our CEO, Louise Glanville gave evidence at a public hearing in November 2019.

‘We are pleased to be able to provide the Productivity Commission with information drawn from the practical experience of our lawyers and non-legal advocates across criminal and civil justice systems,’ said Rowan.

These responses provide further information on:

  • the value of legal representation at the Mental Health Tribunal
  • the use of community treatment orders as part of a crisis-driven mental health system
  • the negative interplay between mental health issues and civil legal issues
  • access to therapeutic courts and programs with embedded mental health supports
  • access to mental health services for people leaving custody.

More information

Read more about the Productivity Commission's inquiry into mental health.

Read about our first submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into mental ill-health.

Read about our work with the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

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