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Disability Justice Centre

The Bennett Brook Disability Justice Centre in Caversham is WA’s only “declared place” under the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996 (the CLMIA Act). It is established and managed by the Disability Services Commission pursuant to the Declared Places (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 2015 (the Declared Places Act). It is a residential-style facility which can accommodate 10 mentally impaired accused who are on a Custody Order under the CLMIA Act, are over 16 years old, have a disability as defined in the Disability Services Act 1993 and the predominant reason for the disability is not mental illness.

“Mentally impaired accused” are people who are accused of a criminal offence but are found to be mentally unfit to stand trial or not guilty on the grounds of unsoundness of mind. The charge against them is dismissed without any finding as to guilt or otherwise but they may be put on a Custody Order under the CLMIA Act.

The Declared Places Act requires that advocacy services be provided to residents of the Disability Justice Centre in very similar terms to the advocacy services provided under the Mental Health Act 2014. The Chief Mental Health Advocate has been appointed by regulations as the Chief Advocate, and Mental Health Advocates as the Advocates, under the Declared Places Act to protect the rights of residents.

The Chief Advocate provides an Annual Report on the activities of the Advocates to the Minister for Disability Services who must lay the report before both houses of Parliament. A copy of the inaugural 2015-2016 Annual Report can be found by clicking here.