My client is a Victim
If your client is a victim of an offence where the person charged has been, or is likely to be, diverted from the criminal justice system to the forensic mental health system, (includes Mental Health Court and Mental Health Review Tribunal), your client is eligible for help from QHVSS. Your client is also eligible if the person charged has been transferred from custody, or directly after an offence, to a secure mental health service. When this occurs the person charged is likely to be a Classified patient under the Mental Health Act 2016.
Queensland Health Victim Support Service works collaboratively with other professionals and services to coordinate support for victims of violence. If you are working with a victim and their family where the person charged has a mental illness and or intellectual disability, contact us to find out how we can work together with you.
Can my client receive support?
The QHVSS provides assistance to:
- The direct victim(s) of the offence
- The parents or guardians of a child victim, or a victim with legal incapacity
- Immediate family members of a deceased victim
- Other concerned persons who have been harmed or impacted by an offence eg witnesses, family members or anyone supporting a direct victim
- Professionals seeking advice, information and assistance in working with victims of crime
How can we help your client?
- Provide supportive counselling at any stage after the offence
- Advise you on your rights and entitlements so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family
- Help you navigate the criminal justice system and forensic mental health system
- Provide information and support for Mental Health Court, including supporting you at court
- Providing advice and assistance to those making a Victim Impact Statement to the Mental Health Court or Mental Health Review Tribunal
- Support you in applying for and obtaining more information about what is happening in your case
- Provide referrals to assist your recovery and organise additional services you or your family may need.
QHVSS staff can access interpreters in your preferred language and provide translated materials if required.
QHVSS has offices in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns and provides outreach throughout Queensland. Services are delivered by experienced social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists who can assist you to access entitlements and help support your recovery. Assistance can be provided face to face, by telephone, virtually or by email.
We recognise that early support for people who are victims of violent crimes (and your families) helps you to more effectively cope with the offence and improves your long term wellbeing. Help is available at any stage after the offence and for as long as needed.
If you or someone you know is a victim of an offence where the person charged has been diverted from the criminal justice system to the forensic mental health system, you are eligible for help from QHVSS. We can also assist you if the person charged was dealt with in Magistrates Court and received a mental health defence.
To speak to someone and find out how we can help:
Phone free call 1800 208 005 during business hours or email email@example.com.
To provide a service that meets the needs of victims of crime where the offender has a mental illness or intellectual disability. This includes:
- Early identification of victims to offer them support
- Providing immediate help and advice
- Providing information about the Forensic Mental Health system
- Assisting victims in making informed choices and accessing their entitlements
- Supporting victims to tell their story through victim impact statements
- Working in partnership with other agencies to be responsive to victim needs.
QHVSS was established as a result of the 2006 review of the Mental Health Act (2000) conducted by Brendan Butler AM SC. The final government report, Promoting Balance in the Forensic Mental Health System, concluded that change was necessary to ensure victims have access to appropriate and timely information, victims’ concerns are heard and the mental health system is responsive to their needs. Access to information and support is recognised as being crucial to a victim's recovery and well being. QHVSS has a role in assisting victims and their families to access their entitlements under the Mental Health Act 2016.
Acquiring offender information
What are Information Notices?
Some victims (or their families) find it helpful to receive information about the person who harmed them. If the person who harmed you, or your family member, is placed on a Forensic Order or Treatment Support Order by the Mental Health Court, you may be eligible to apply for an Information Notice.
Information Notices allow you to receive specific information about the person’s treatment and rehabilitation. Knowing that the patient is continuing to be managed by a mental health team on an order and the conditions of that order, can help you to feel safer.
Under the Mental Health Act 2016 you can apply to the Chief Psychiatrist in Queensland Health for an Information Notice. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0022/635044/f_victim_app_information_notice.pdf
Applications for Information Notices are facilitated through the QHVSS. We can explain the eligibility criteria and how they work. For more details or to apply for an Information Notice, speak to one of our team.
What is classified patient information?
If the person who harmed you or your family member is in custody and is transferred to a mental health service for assessment or treatment, they become a Classified Patient. You can apply to the Chief Psychiatrist in Queensland for information about the classified patient.
To find out more contact QHVSS on 1800 208 005, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Courts
Mental Health Court
If you or a family member have been a victim of serious violence and the person charged has a mental illness or intellectual disability, they can be referred to the Mental Health Court. Queensland has one Mental Health Court located in Brisbane, which is made up of a Supreme Court Judge and two assisting psychiatrists.
The Mental Health Court determines whether a person charged was of unsound mind at the time of the offence or is now temporarily or permanently unfit for trial. This is a specialist court in Queensland and QHVSS is able to help you understand the court process and decisions in your case.
For more information about Mental Health Court: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/444961/mental-health-court-fact.pdf
Magistrates in Queensland can decide on the balance of probability that a person charged can receive a mental health defence. If you or a member of your family have been a victim of crime and the person charged receives a mental health defence in the Magistrates Court, QHVSS can help you to understand the court process and how you can be supported.
For more information about Magistrate Court: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0031/444937/magistrates-court-fact.pdf
Victim Support Service - Resources
These websites may be useful to you. They are not managed by the QHVSS.
|Legislation||Mental Health Act 2016|
|Legislation||Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009|
|Services||Victim Assist Queensland|
|Services||Home - VictimConnect||Victim Connect – 24 hour victims of crime helpline|
|Services||PACT – We Educate, Empower and Support Victims and Witnesses through their justice journey.||PACT (Protect All Children Today) – providing court support for children and adults|
|Services||Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group||24 hr emotional support, personal advocacy and information to all people affected by homicide throughout Queensland|
|Services||Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP)||The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions acts on the community's behalf to prosecute people charged with serious criminal offences in Queensland|
|Services||Mental Health Court|
|Services||Mental Health Review Tribunal||The Mental Health Review Tribunal is established under the Mental Health Act 2016 as the statutory safeguard for the rights of patients receiving involuntary treatment for mental illness|
|Services||Legal Aid Queensland4||Legal Aid Queensland works to provide access to justice for disadvantaged Queenslanders by providing legal information, advice and representation|
|Services||Queensland Corrective Services Victims Register||The Victims Register provides victims of violent or sexual offences with information about an offender who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for offences committed against them|
|Services||Victim Information Register – young offenders|
|Services||Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of crime|
|Services||DV Connect||for help with domestic violence and sexual assault|
|Fact sheets||Support for victims (MHA 2016) (PDF, 502KB)|
|https://headtohealth.gov.au/||Head to Health: An Australian government initiative, Head to Health provides a centralised site for access to digital mental health services from some of Australia’s most trusted mental health organisations.|
|https://mentalwellbeing.initiatives.qld.gov.au/||Dear Mind: Queensland government website focussed on mental wellbeing. It provides activities, stories, resources and support options.|
|https://www.beyondblue.org.au/home||Beyond Blue: An Australian mental health and wellbeing support organisation. They provide support programs to address issues related to depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental illness. Phone: 1300 224 636|
Lifeline: is a not-for-profit organisation that provides free, 24-hour telephone crisis support service in Australia. Volunteer crisis supporters provide suicide prevention services, mental health support and emotional assistance via telephone, face to face and online.
Phone 13 11 14
|https://headspace.org.au/||Headspace: An Australian not-for-profit organisation for youth mental health. Headspace provides information and resources, face to face phone or online support with mental and physical health, alcohol and other drugs, work and study. Phone (03) 9027 0100|
|https://www.carergateway.gov.au/||Carers Gateway: An Australian government central support for carers, they provide resources, face to face, online or phone support. Phone 1800 422 737|
|https://www.mentalhealthonline.org.au/||Mental Health Online: comprehensive and effective online services and programs free of charge including self-assessment, self-help and professional support.|
|https://arafmi.com.au/||Arafmi QLD: provide support, education and advocacy services to people with mental illness, their families and carers. Phone (07) 3254 1881|