This section contains information that may be useful for victims of crime where the offender has a mental illness, or other concerned persons.
Who can place information before the Tribunal?
Any person can give information to the Tribunal. For example, a direct victim of the offence that led to the making of a Forensic Order, or a person with a close relationship to the victim can make a submission to the Tribunal. A concerned family member, friend, neighbour or work colleague may also put information forward.
How will I know if the information is relevant?
Information can be put forward on any matter the Tribunal is considering, including an Involuntary Treatment Order review, an application to give Electroconvulsive Therapy, or a Forensic Order review. The information should aim to assist the Tribunal with its decisions.
For example, in a Forensic Order review, the Tribunal must decide:
- whether to revoke a forensic order;
- whether to order, approve or revoke limited community treatment;
- what conditions are to be placed on limited community treatment.
These are the issues that the Tribunal must decide at every Forensic Order review. The Tribunal must consider whether the patient’s mental condition makes them a risk to their own safety or the safety of others. If you are a victim or concerned person, your views may help the Tribunal with these decisions.
If you need more information about what happens at Tribunal hearings, you can ask the staff at the Tribunal office or go to the website (see details on the back of this brochure).
What should I write in my submission?
You can put forward any information that you think will assist the Tribunal in its decisions. For example, you can put forward your views about:
- your knowledge of the patient’s illness or behaviour;
- how the patient’s behaviour has, or may affect you;
- whether you feel at risk of harm from the patient;
- how you could be at risk (for example, severe stress, anxiety, threats, violence, stalking, harassment);
- what would make you feel safe;
- whether you are concerned about coming into contact with the patient, and why.
If you like, you may use a Victim and Concerned Persons Submission Form which is available from the Tribunal office or website. Any information that you put before the Tribunal must be truthful and accurate and must be sworn.
Does the Tribunal have my Mental Health Court submission?
Yes. If you submitted material to the Mental Health Court and it was taken into account in making a Forensic Order, a copy of your material is given to the Tribunal unless the Court orders otherwise. In most cases the Tribunal will have your submission on file.
Your Mental Health Court submission is included in the information that the Tribunal considers at the first Forensic Order review. It will be placed before the Tribunal at each Forensic Order review until it is no longer relevant (for example, your current views may be more relevant to the Tribunal as time passes).
When should I make a submission?
In some cases, you may be notified of a patient’s hearing coming up, and this will allow you to put your views forward before the actual hearing date.
However, the Tribunal will accept submissions at any time. The information will be placed before the Tribunal at the patient’s next review. If there is a need to bring the review forward so that your information can be considered earlier, the Tribunal can do so.
Will the patient see my submission?
Yes. Ordinarily the law requires that the patient be given the opportunity to read the information and reply to it. If you think the patient should not see your submission, you should ask for a Confidentiality Order.
First the Tribunal will decide whether the information is to be taken into account. Then the Tribunal will decide whether the information should be confidential.
A Confidentiality Order prevents the patient from having the information. Instead, the Tribunal must appoint a lawyer or agent for the patient, and give the information to the lawyer.
The Tribunal will make a Confidentiality Order if knowing the information will put the patient’s health or the safety of other people at risk. The Tribunal can also make its reasons for taking or not taking the information into account, confidential. If you would like to know more about Confidentiality Orders, there is a brochure available from the Tribunal office or website.
Will my personal information be protected?
Yes. The Tribunal is required by law to keep all information that comes to it confidential. Even if your submission is not under a Confidentiality Order, the Tribunal will not give out your personal details (for example, your address) to anyone else.
Can I attend the Tribunal?
No. Tribunal hearings are closed to the public.
Only the patient and the patient’s Allied Person or other representative can attend. Members of the treating team and other witnesses attend the hearing to give information. In a Forensic Order review, a representative of the Attorney General may be at the hearing to make submissions in the public interest. This may include the views of a victim or concerned person.
If you have provided a submission for a Forensic Order review, the Attorney-General’s office will also be given a copy before the hearing.
Can I withdraw my submission?
Yes. You can withdraw your submission before the hearing if you want to, either by sending a written or emailed request. The material will be returned to you and will not be kept on the Tribunal file.
Will the Tribunal respect my views?
Yes. The Tribunal must apply the processes of the law to your submission.
First they will decide whether your submission should be taken into account.
Second, if the Tribunal decides that the material is to be taken into account, it must then decide what weight (level of importance) it should have in the decision-making.
The Tribunal must give reasons for taking, or not taking your submission into account. You can ask the Tribunal to give you the reasons.
What if I don’t want to make a submission?
If you are invited to make a submission and you do not wish to make one then you do not need to put material forward. The Tribunal respects your decision not to put forward information at any time.
If you do make a submission to the Tribunal and have made a submission previously then the Tribunal will consider the new submission as well as any previous submissions you have made.
Even if you do not make any submissions, the Tribunal must always balance the rights and freedoms of the patient with the rights and freedoms of others. In particular, when making a decision about a Forensic Order, the Tribunal must consider the protection of the community and the needs of the victim.