Mental Health Court Liaison Service
The Mental Health Court Liaison Service (MHCLS) is a court-based assessment and advice service. At metropolitan court locations, this service is provided by Forensicare, the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health and in rural and regional areas by local area mental health services.
The metropolitan MHCLS was first established at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in November 1994. Due to the increasing demand on the service, the Broadmeadows, Dandenong, Frankston, Heidelberg, Ringwood and Sunshine Magistrates’ Courts also have a MHCLS.
The aims of the MHCLS are to:
- divert offenders with a mental illness from the criminal justice system into appropriate mental health treatment
- reduce rates of recidivism in offenders with a mental illness through facilitating access to appropriate mental health treatment services
- reduce the frequency and length of custodial remands to obtain a psychiatric report.
- identification and assessment of people coming before the court who may suffer from a mental illness, and make linkages to an appropriate mental health facility in the community or prison system, for treatment and support
- providing immediate impartial mental health assessment, to determine whether or not a person before the court is suffering from a mental illness
- assessment to determine if a person is fit to plead
- reassessment of the mental state of a person with a known psychiatric history
- providing a consultancy and advice service on mental health issues to all metropolitan Magistrates’ Courts and their users
- consultation with family members involved in the person’s care.
The MHCLS complements the other court support services established or provided by the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.
Mental Health Court Liaison Service in country regions
There are five part-time, country-based Mental Health Court Liaison positions that are provided by the local area mental health services at the Geelong, Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat and Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Courts.
Further information is available from the Magistrates' Court of Victoria Guide to Court Support and Diversion Services on this website or by contacting the program on the telephone numbers below.
Contacts Mental Health Liaison Service
Melbourne Magistrates' Court
Tel: (03) 9628 7909 / (03) 9602 3293
Pager: (03) 9483 4444 Quote 157999
Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court
Tel: (03) 9309 7030
Mob: 0419 007 990
Dandenong / Frankston Magistrates’ Courts
Tel: (03) 9767 1327
Mob: 0407 092 953
Heidelberg/Ringwood Magistrates’ Courts
Tel: (03) 9876 0235
Mob: 0407 339 083
Sunshine Magistrates’ Court
Tel: (03) 9311 5023
Mob: 0437 077 328