General Mark Speakman and Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said the new
laws will enable victims to have their say in MHRT hearings for people who are
detained after being found unfit to be tried, or not guilty of a crime by
reason of mental illness.
to the concerns of victims and they will now be given the opportunity to be
heard and express how it will affect them if the forensic patient is granted
leave or released from detention,” Mr Speakman said.
may include suggested conditions the MHRT could impose on the forensic patient
to keep the community safe, such as orders preventing them from visiting
certain locations and associating with specific people.”
A new Specialist Victims
Support Service (SVSS)
will also officially begin operating in Parramatta today, providing dedicated
support to victims of violence committed by people with cognitive and mental
Mrs Davies said
the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government has committed $8.5 million to
establish and maintain the SVSS.
“The SVSS will
work with victims from an early stage in the justice process so they feel safe,
understand court and MHRT hearings
and can have their voices
heard,” Mrs Davies said.
will regard a victim’s privacy as paramount and won’t release their personal
information to the Tribunal or anyone else without the victim’s consent.”
The SVSS will provide:
- A victims register through
which registered victims can request to be informed of key hearing dates and
case developments (the register will also be accessible to families of victims
who died as a result of an act by a forensic patient)
- Private rooms where victims can attend MHRT hearings via videolink
- Support to help victims prepare submissions to the MHRT and victim
impact statements to the District and Supreme
- Support for recovery ranging
from counselling to crisis supports.
introduction of the SVSS is part of a major overhaul of the forensic mental
health system by the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government and will give
greater consideration to victims’
rights while maintaining fairness to people with a cognitive or mental health impairment.