Forensicare’s response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Forensicare’s response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Forensicare welcomes the final report delivered by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Forensicare CEO, Dr Margaret Grigg said that the 65 recommendations were ambitious and, once implemented, will transform our mental health system for the better.

“These recommendations lay the foundation for a system that will better support the recovery of people with mental illness who are at risk of entering, or who have entered the justice system,” Grigg said.

“Forensicare treats many of the Victorians that this system has failed. Our hope is that people with a mental illness will receive mental health care that prevents them becoming involved in the justice system; and for those who do, that they are treated with dignity and receive treatment that is person-centred and supports them at all stages of their recovery.”

“In particular, we applaud the proposals to ensure the system is responsive to the needs, rights and preferences of individuals, to better resource and expand forensic mental health services, to build the capacity of the workforce, embrace those with lived experience, foster innovation through research, and ensure that carers receive the support they deserve.”

“I also commend the proposal to upgrade and expand the Thomas Embling Hospital to provide an additional 127 beds so that we can meet the demand for safe and appropriate care for people in the justice system.”

Forensicare’s Senior Consumer Consultant, Julie Dempsey gave the final witness statement during the inquiry, expressing that she is relieved that the system will be rebuilt with more humanity.

“The release of the Royal Commission’s final report brought a flood of tears to my eyes. It is with great relief that after decades of experience living and working in a mental health system, which has not only failed to meet basic needs, but has exacerbated harms for consumers, we have an official and indisputable acknowledgement of a broken and neglected system,” Dempsey said.

“I am hopeful that when Penny Armytage, the Chair of the Royal Commission, stated ‘We have moved from filling in the potholes and created a new road’, that going forward we shall see committed and extensive transformation. This can be a new era of hope for consumers, families, carers, supporters, and mental health workers. The government has committed to all 65 recommendations which are expansive and cover many aspects of direct and indirect care, service delivery, human rights, consumer recovery, diversity, workforce and governance,” Says Dempsey.

As a service at the nexus of the mental health and criminal justice systems, Forensicare welcomed the Royal Commission and the opportunity share its unique perspective.

“We will be embracing this opportunity to collaborate with the Victorian Government, the mental health sector and those with lived experience to implement these solutions to ensure people living with mental illness have access to the right support, at the right time,” Grigg said. 

“We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the many people who shared their experiences to inform the Royal Commission’s work, including those of consumers, families, carers and staff. We would also like to thank the Commissioners for their commitment and dedication to this inquiry.”

You can read the full report on the Royal Commission’s website.  

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