New "Mental Health Liaison and Diversion: Court Liaison Services & Mental Health Court Programs in Australia"

Mental Health Liaison and Diversion: Court Liaison Services & Mental Health Court Programs in Australia, a report by Fiona Davidson (2015).



Mental health and criminal justice systems have responded to the high rates of mental illness among offenders with the development of forensic mental health services and innovative court approaches. A key component of Australian forensic mental health services is court liaison. This type of forensic mental health service can provide early mental health intervention and, in some cases, diversion from the criminal justice system to mental health care for those who require it. A varied approach to diversion for mentally ill offenders is that of specialised mental health courts or diversion lists. The components of service delivery and range of options that are available to individuals who have a mental illness and have come into contact with the criminal justice system differ across jurisdictions in Australia. To date there has been limited opportunity for collaboration between jurisdictions to compare models and to explore methods to measure their outcomes In 2014 a descriptive survey of court liaison and court diversion programs was conducted in Australia. This report describes the findings of the study. The survey included teams or programs with the specific focus of mental health court liaison or court based diversion rather than individual practitioners from health services who perform this function in addition to their usual role. In situations where more than one service exists, the largest of the services was approached to participate in the survey (this was the case in New South Wales for Court Liaison Service which provides a service to the majority of the state). The report is comprised of three parts. Part one includes a table that lists the services/programs that were contacted, and agreed to participate in, a national survey of mental health court liaison and mental health court diversion in Australia. Part two describes the role of court liaison services and describes the model of each of the participating services with reference to the legislation that supports mental health diversion. Part three of the report describes the mental health court programs in Australia that use a problem solving court or therapeutic jurisprudence approach to diversion of mentally impaired offenders. 

To view the whole report click here.