Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 The forensic sub-program provides a modest service to the whole of the Territory. The focus for this service is to provide expert assessment of and treatment for adults and juveniles before the court, people on remand or convicted persons in jailor on probation. Services are accessed via outpatient clinics held at the Tamarind Centre, Gunn Point Prison Farm and Berrimah Prison, and by liaison with the legal fraternity and probation and parole officers. Ward 9 at the Royal Darwin Hospital provides 7 beds for people who need more intense assessment and treatment than can be provided in an outpatient setting. Phase 1 improvements to Ward 9 were completed on 30 March 1987 and I have approved further development work. Heavy demands are made on this ward by the magistracy and the judiciary. A sexual offenders treatment unit is being developed to break the cycle of recurring sexual offences. It is well known that sexual offenders are very likely to repeat their crimes. Interventions that reduce the risk of this occurring are critical to resolving this community problem. The service has begun a recruitment drive for specialists to staff the unit which is expected to be functioning by mid-1989. This treatment program is a vital part of the government's strategy to deal more effectively with sexual offenders. The child and family sub-program is another important part of the service. The program provides services to disturbed children and their families. The principal outpatient clinic is located at the Tamarind Centre. Assessment and support clinics are provided also at Palmerston Community Health Centre and Casuarina Plaza Community Health Centre. In addition, the unit receives referrals from the Katherine and East Arnhem regions. The child and family team provides support and advice to various welfare teams throughout the Northern Territory. Given the nature of the Northern Territory population, the value of this service will not be lost on honourable members. It is of particular interest to note that most people who attend the unit are self-referrals. Studies in New South Wales have indicated that 10% of adolescents experience distress consistent with a psychiatric diagnosis. In some surveys, parents expressed the view that the most difficult parenting task was dealing with a disturbed adolescent. The Child and Family Service cooperates with other welfare agencies to achieve that end. Mr Speaker, the community demand for various psychiatric services can be determined by the following statistics from key elements of Mental Health Services. During the period July 1987 to June 1988, 5029 outpatient services were provided at the Tamarind Centre. In addition, 2351 services were provided to the community. During the same period, the Child and Family Service provided 777 outpatient services and 2534 outpatient services were provided at the Royal Darwin Hospital. Day centre patients at the Tamarind Centre received 2944 occasions of service. From August 1986 to November 1988, more than 2000 individuals voluntarily sought treatment at the Tamarind Centre alone. The rural service sub-program is concerned with providing services to rural communities. Currently, services to communities are provided on a needs basis and many centres are visited. Planning is under way to restructure services to rural communities and to provide culturally appropriate treatment programs. Aboriginal health workers will be expected to playa big role in this initiative. The needs of Territorians in the Katherine and East Arnhem regions have not been forgotten. In the past 12 months, 2 community psychiatric nurse 5553
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