#Australia #mentalhealth #law Announcement of a Declared Place welcome and long overdue: Greens

Announcement of a Declared Place welcome and long overdue: Greens

11 May 2012

The Greens have welcomed the announcement today that funding has finally been put aside to commence the building of a Declared Place.

“It has been a blight on WA that to date anyone with a mental illness or intellectual disability who has been found unfit to stand trial or not guilty because of mental unfitness has had nowhere to go except to prison or Graylands,” said Alison Xamon, Greens spokesperson on Mental Health and Disabilities.

“This situation, which has been allowed to continue by successive Governments has been a shameful violation of human rights. These people are some of the most vulnerable members of our community and despite their alleged offending it is important to remember that the courts have already found that they were not culpable for their own actions.

“A Declared Place enables a better chance for these people, whether it be the capacity to address inappropriate or offending behaviours, brought about by their mental impairment, or if rehabilitation is not possible, it at least provides a therapeutic environment better equipped to assist these people.

“For too long now these people have been left in the too hard basket and it needs to be remembered that in 8 years of Government the ALP made absolutely no progress on this issue at all. It is a relief then to finally have an announcement that the establishment of a Declared Place will finally be happening.”

Ms Xamon said that despite the positive news much of the detail remained unclear, in particular where the Declared Places will be located.

“Although I welcome the suggestion that Declared Places, with appropriate levels of security, will be located around the metropolitan area, I remain concerned as to the lack of appropriate facilities for those from regional areas who may be placed on custody orders or are found not guilty due to mental impairment.

“A large proportion of people currently on custody orders are Aboriginal people from remote or regional communities, and whilst prison is totally inappropriate, there is a concern as to the implications for these people being removed from their families and lands. I will be particularly interested to hear what the Minister intends to do to address this problem.

“Nevertheless today’s announcement is a positive one and I look forward to seeing the full detail,” Ms Xamon concluded.

For further comment contact Alison

Hon Alison Xamon MLC

Member for the East Metropolitan Region

Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051

Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931

Phone: (08) 9272 1718

Fax: (08) 9272 1719

Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services,Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering

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