Authors: Mental Health Law Centre (WA) Inc
Event: 2013 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: WA
Award level: Special Judges Award: Partnership Practices
Award category: Special Achievement
Abstract: The Mental Health Law Centre (WA) Inc. is an independent, non-government community legal centre located in Western Australia. Before the Centre’s establishment in 1996, there had been no dedicated facility in WA through which people detained in authorised psychiatric hospitals could obtain free expert legal advice and representation. The Centre is the only community legal centre in WA, which specialises in legal assistance to people with a mental illness. The Centre is uniquely placed to observe the discrimination and breaches of human rights encountered by its client base, through its criminal court and board/tribunal advocacy, and its community education program. Our specialist knowledge translates into law and policy reform submissions on the basis of coal face experience. The Centre promotes Justice, Fairness and Equity for people with a mental illness - for the benefit of people with a mental illness, their families and the wider Western Australian community. Description of Facility/Organisation: 2011-2012: The Centre provided legal advice/representation services (primarily court/tribunal work, and complaints) to 839 clients (560 open files/3508 advices/information); presented 65 education presentations to 1,499 attendees, distributed 14,946 plain English guides (12 publications) and made 24 law reform submissions. The Centre’s referral service (471 referrals) promotes networking between the Centre, and other community legal centres and WA mental health services. The Centre’s state wide community education program promotes understanding and demystification of mental health laws, and encourages the de-stigmatisation of mental illness. The Centre’s limited budget (demand greater than supply) is from funds sourced from current grants, which include from the WA Attorney-General, the WA Law Society’s Public Purposes Trust, Lotterywest and the Mental Health Commission.