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Early intervention, diagnosis and treatment is important in
minimising the long term adverse outcomes that can result.   It can also save lives. 

Coming into contact with the criminal justice system can often be a catalyst for a change.

Finding the right legal professional is as important as finding the right health professional.   







   



ADD/ADHD is a serious disorder involving imbalances in two key neurotransmitters, Dopamine and Noradrenaline.  It often co-occurs with other disorders and co-morbid Bipolar Spectrum Disorders and Substance Abuse Disorder are common. 

ADD/ADHD can continue into adulthood causing significant impairments across a range of domains including employment and relationships.

For further click here or see our Section 32 Guide page.











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MENTAL HEALTH LAW

CMH Lawyers can assist people who are subject to the provisions of the Mental Health Act 2007 including those who have been involuntarily detained and have proceedings before the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT).   Our Principal Solicitor, Karen Weeks BJuris LLB (UNSW), has been a Sydney criminal lawyer for 20 years.


Criminal Law and Mental Illness

Mentall ill-health and the criminal law often intersect.  Evidence of mental ill-health can be relevant to  criminal liability and/or sentence and in the Local Court of NSW it can give rise to eligibility for diversion from the criminal justice system pursuant to Section 32 Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990. See our Section 32 page and our Section 32 Guide page for further information on Section 32 applications.

For those charged by police with a criminal offence(s) evidence of mental ill-health can be relevant in a number of ways:

  • as noted above, for matters which can be finalised in the Local Court,  it may satisfy the eligibility requirements for a Section 32 application;
  • it may render someone unfit to plead;
  • it may give rise to the defence of mental illness (a special verdict resulting in a complete acquittal that may bring a person under the supervision of the Mental Health Review Tribunal);
  • it may give rise to the defence of diminished responsibility (a partial defence reducing murder to manslaughter).

Those with cognitive and mental health impairments are over-represented in all stages of the criminal justice system (police, the courts, juvenile detention centres and prisons).

The incidence of mental ill-health amongst those in the criminal justice system is high.  The majority of young people in juvenile detention centres and adults in prisons have a diagnosable mental disorder and the most suffer from two or more, with co-occurring substance misuse problems most common.   Recidivism (repeat offending) amongst prisoners with mental ill-health is high.   Click here for a further information.

Diversionary schemes such as the statutory scheme in NSW created by Section 32 Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 have been established in most Australian jurisdictions. 

Coming into contact with the criminal justice system can often be a catalyst for change.  



Mental Health in the Community

Criminal and Mental Health Lawyers (CMH Lawyers) are committed to raising the awareness of mental ill-health amongst the legal profession, judiciary and the wider community. 

Almost one in two people will suffer from mental ill-health at some point in their life.  The young (those under the age of 25
years) are disproportionately affected with 75% of adult psychiatric disorders first
becoming evident before 24 years of age.  Many more people die each year from suicide than are killed in traffic accidents and most are young men.   Sadly, the majority of young people with mental ill-health do not have access to any mental health services.   For further information see our Resources page or click here.

CMH Lawyers are committed to improving outcomes for the individual and for the wider community in reducing the risk of re-offending.

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