Forensic Mental Health Services

Tasmania's Forensic Mental Health Services provides community and inpatient mental health assessment, treatment and case management for offenders (or people at risk of offending) who have a mental disorder. Clients are provided with contemporary, professional and highly specialised psychiatric care and treatment so that their condition is well managed.

We have Community teams in the North and South of the state and Inpatient care is provided at Wilfred Lopes Centre located in Risdon Vale, east of Hobart.

For more information about the Forensic Mental Health Service, please phone 03 6777 1204 (Northern Tasmania) or 03 6166 0486 (Southern Tasmania).

Community Forensic Mental Health Service

Community Forensic Mental Health Service brochure

The Community Forensic Mental Health Service is a confidential statewide service that assists people who have a mental health issue and/or intellectual disability who are:

  • involved with the criminal justice system, or
  • assessed as high risk of becoming involved with the criminal justice system as a result of their mental health and associated behaviour.

The service offers mental health assessment, liaison, counselling, support, education, advice and referral to other services.

We may be able to provide case management in some instances.

Who is eligible for our services?

Persons aged 18 years and over who have a mental illness and/or disability and are:

  • on a Forensic Order
  • on Magistrate’s Bail with specific directions to present to Forensic Mental Health
  • on probation or parole
  • assessed as high risk of becoming involved with the criminal justice system.

Our team includes

  • Psychiatrists
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Community Mental Health Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Court Liaison Officers

Services we provide

Our teams are located in the North and South of the state.

North 03 6777 1204

South 03 6166 0486

Our services include:

  • mental health assessment
  • risk assessment and management planning
  • court ordered reports
  • case management
  • medication administration, monitoring and education
  • therapeutic intervention, such as counselling
  • consultation, support and education
  • referral to other services.

Court Liaison Service

Court Liaison Officers provide assistance for people with mental health problems who have to go to court. They can provide support for individuals and family members, explain court processes or advise on how to contact a lawyer.

Court Liaison Officers in our team:

  • Identify people before the court who may have a mental illness and make referrals to treatment and support services.
  • Provide immediate assessment and advice to the court about defendants who may have a mental health problem.
  • Provide initial screening assessment to determine fitness to stand trial.
  • Support individuals and family members through the court process.
  • Provide assessments, recommendations and oversight of participants to the Diversion List.

Mental Health Diversion List

The Diversion List is a specialist Court List in the Magistrates Court to meet the needs of defendants who have mental illness, cognitive impairment or a brain injury.

The List provides a therapeutic alternative to the general court process and participants voluntarily take part in treatment and rehabilitation programs.

Court Liaison Officers assess eligibility of participants and oversee their progress while on the program.

What are Forensic Orders?

The Supreme Court can place a person on a Forensic Order if they are found:

  • Unfit to take part in the legal process, or
  • Not guilty by reasons of insanity.

A person can be placed on either a:

Restriction Order - the person is detained in a secure mental health unit, or

Supervision Order - the person lives in the community under the supervision of the Chief Forensic Psychiatrist with specific conditions.

Each order is reviewed every 12 months by the Tasmanian Forensic Tribunal.

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Defendant Health Liaison Service

The Defendant Health Liaison Service offers support to people who have been charged with an offence or have been served with a Police Family Violence Order or a Family Violence Order.

The Service is separate from the Police and not directly part of the court or legal system. The Defendant Health Liaison Officer cannot provide legal advice.

Support includes:

  • Someone to talk to you about your current situation
  • Referral and information about other services
  • Assistance in understanding Police Family Violence and Family Violence Orders
  • Support through the court process

The service operates Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm

You can make an appointment by phoning 6777 1204 in Northern Tasmania or 6166 0486 in Southern Tasmania.

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Inpatient Service - Wilfred Lopes Centre

We provide professional and appropriate care and treatment in a secure health setting.

The Wilfred Lopes Centre is staffed by highly trained specialist mental health nurses, psychiatrists, allied health professionals and support staff.

Patients at the Wilfred Lopes Centre include:

  • Prisoners with a mental illness requiring specialist treatment.
  • People with mental illness appearing in, or remanded from the courts.
  • People sent by judges or magistrates for assessment either before sentencing or earlier in the court process e.g. to establish fitness to stand trial.
  • Those found not guilty by reason of insanity, unfit to plead or placed on a Forensic Order.
  • In exceptional circumstances, young people with mental illness from Ashley Youth Detention Centre who can be accommodated separately.
  • Prisoners with cognitive or intellectual impairment in exceptional circumstances.
  • Non-offenders in exceptional circumstances over 18 years of age who have severe and/or prolonged mental illness resulting in significant risk to themselves or others and cannot be safely accommodated elsewhere.