09 April 2014

Victorian Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act 2014 (Vic) has received assent.

The purposes of the Act are to -
(a) provide a legislative scheme for the assessment of persons who appear to have mental illness and for the treatment of persons with mental illness; 
(b) provide for the appointment of the chief psychiatrist; 
(c) establish the Mental Health Tribunal; 
(d) establish the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner; 
(e) continue the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health; 
(f) provide for the appointment and functions of community visitors; 
(g) repeal the Mental Health Act 1986
(h) amend the Sentencing Act 1991 and the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 and 
(i) make consequential and statute law amendments to other Acts. 
The Mental Health Act 1986 (Vic), Mental Health Amendment Regulations 2010, Mental Health Regulations 1998 and Mental Health Regulations 2008 are repealed.

An indication of scope is provided by the list of amended statutes -
  • Accident Compensation Act 1985
  • Children, Youth And Families Act 2005
  • Commission For Children And Young People Act 2012
  • Co-Operative Housing Societies Act 1958
  • Coroners Act 2008
  • Corrections Act 1986
  • Crimes Act 1958
  • Criminal Procedure Act 2009
  • Duties Act 2000
  • Firearms Act 1996
  • Gambling Regulation Act 2003
  • Guardianship And Administration Act 1986
  • Health Services Act 1988
  • Human Services (Complex Needs) Act 2009
  • Information Privacy Act 2000
  • International Transfer Of Prisoners (Victoria) Act 1998
  • Juries Act 2000
  • Land Act 1958
  • Land Tax Act 2005
  • Magistrates' Court Act 1989;
  • Ombudsman Act 1973
  • Payroll Tax Act 2007
  • Property Law Act 1958
  • Public Administration Act 2004
  • Residential Tenancies Act 1997
  •  Serious Sex Offenders (Detention And Supervision) Act 2009
  • Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004
  • Summary Offences Act 1966
  • Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act 2010
  • Tobacco Act 1987
  • Transport Accident Act 1986
  • Trustee Act 1958
  • Victims Of Crime Assistance Act 1996
  • Workplace Injury Rehabilitation And Compensation Act 2013
  • Disability Act 2006
  • Sentencing Act 1991
  • Crimes (Mental Impairment And Unfitness To Be Tried) Act 1997

From a privacy perspective key sections are -
s 346 - provides that a mental health service provider, its staff, contractors, volunteers and board members must not disclose health information about a consumer. The section allows disclosure in specified circumstances, including where the person to whom the information relates consents to the disclosure, disclosure is required by another health service provider to provide health services, or disclosure is permitted by Information Privacy Act 2000 (Vic) Health Privacy Principle 2.1 or 2.2(a), (f), (g), (h) or (k), or Health Privacy Principle 2.5.
s 347 - provides that a person employed or engaged by a mental health service provider may enter health information into an electronic health information system. That information in the electronic health information system may only be used for certain purposes, including the provision of mental health services. 
s 355 - provides for the conduct of a search under s 354 in a manner which preserves privacy and dignity. The authorised person must inform the individual of certain matters, ask for the individual's cooperation and conduct the least invasive kind of search practicable. When a search is conducted of a individual who is of or under the age of 16 years, there must be a parent present, or if this is not possible, another adult must be present apart from the authorised person conducting the search