Forensic Review

Forensic Review

Government response

The NSW Government released the NSW Government response – Review of the Mental Health Review Tribunal in respect of forensic patients on 6 July 2018.

The review

The Minister for Mental Health, the Hon. Tanya Davies MP, requested that NSW Health review the Mental Health Review Tribunal in respect of forensic patients. 

The review considered if current law, processes and procedures appropriately balance:

  • community safety
  • interests of victims and their families
  • care and treatment needs of forensic patients.

The review was undertaken by the Hon Anthony Whealy QC, a lawyer and former judicial officer, known as the ‘Reviewer’, with appropriate administrative support

final report was provided to the Minister for Mental Health and the Attorney General in December 2017. 

The review found that the legislative test for forensic patient leave and release is appropriate, however the system is weighted too heavily towards the interests of patients, without due consideration for the safety and interests of victims.

The review report made a number of recommendations to improve transparency and decision making.

The recommendations aim to better support victims and balance the interests of patients and victims by:

  • balancing legislation to better acknowledge and reflect the victim experience
  • allowing victim impact statements to be considered at Tribunal hearings or during court hearings
  • clarifying and expanding opportunities for victims to be heard in Tribunal hearings
  • improving Tribunal access, updating language and improving communication with victims; and
  • strengthening mechanisms to supervise forensic patients while on leave or conditional release.

For further information please see: