This report raises matters of significant public interest in relation to how some of the most vulnerable people in our society are treated. The issues in this report came to light as a result of the work of Community Visitors – a group of 443 volunteers across Victoria who give their time and commitment to safeguard the interests of people with a mental illness or disability. The investigation has highlighted several issues that agencies which provide services in this sector must consider if they are to meet their legal obligations under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 to ensure: All persons deprived of liberty must be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
In October 2013 the Public Advocate tabled the Community Visitors Annual Report 2012-2013. The report detailed a number of concerns about the care of patients at an adult acute psychiatric facility. Particularly troubling were allegations of the use of excessive force on patients who were restrained. Community Visitors’ concerns were compounded by the agency which runs the facility refusing to allow Community Visitors timely and full access to incident reports, despite the patients having provided consent.