Mental Health Legal Centre Inc.
The Mental Health Legal Centre
The Mental Health Legal Centre provides a free and confidential legal service to anyone who has experienced mental illness in Victoria where their legal problem relates to their mental illness.
All centre activities aim to promote the rights of people who experience mental illness. The Centre is a non-profit organisation run by an independent Committee of Management.
We receive the majority of our funding from the Victorian Department of Health and Victoria Legal Aid.
The Mental Health Legal Centre is part of a network of Community Legal Centres located throughout Victoria and Australia. Community Legal Centres provide a three-tiered approach to the law, through casework, community legal education and law reform/policy.
We can assist with telephone legal advice and referral, direct advocacy in some cases, education and general inquiries about mental health and the law for consumers in Victoria.
Please see our page on Advocacy and Casework for what we do and don't do.
Recent media releases
Women's safety in psychiatric wards (15 May 2013)
MHLC's media release is in response to recent media reports of women's traumatic experiences in Victorian psychiatric wards, having been subjected to sexual and other assault and harassment. We stress the need for all women and girls to have a choice of receiving inpatient treatment in a female-only environment as one means of addressing women's safety and call for independent evaluation and monitoring of this and other interventions to improve women's safety. We highlight the need for the proposed new Mental Health Complaints Commissioner to be adequately funded and independent and to have stronger investigative and enforcement powers to address these systemic issues of safety and abuse.
- Read MHLC's media release here.
- For more information about women's safety in psychiatric wards and links to the recent media reports, click here.
Victoria Legal Aid’s decision to cut funding jeopardises access to justice for people with experience of mental illness
On 7 February 2013 Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) informed MHLC of its decision to cut funding for MHLC at the end of June 2013, and to redirect those funds (approximately $360,000) to VLA itself.
VLA’s decision means there is a risk MHLC may be forced to close its doors unless other funding can be secured. This will mean a loss to the community of the free independent legal advice, advocacy, education and law reform programs that the MHLC has successfully delivered for 26 years – It will have an adverse effect on access to justice for people with experience of mental illness.
In March this year the Victorian Parliamentary Law Reform Committee singled out specialist community legal centres like the MHLC as an important means of providing access to justice for people with disabilities. The demand for specialist mental health legal services is only expected to grow with the Victorian Government's proposed reforms for a new Mental Health Act.
You can help! Sign the petition for Victoria Legal Aid to reverse its decision to cut funding to the MHLC!
- Check out the launch of our campaign on facebook
- Sign the petition to reverse funding cuts
- Read the MHLC's Guest Blog (3 April 2013) for the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Blog about the impact of the VLA funding cuts
- You can also check out the Federation of Community Legal Centre’s campaign in support of the MHLC or follow the Federation on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CommunitylawVic (@CommunitylawVic)
- Follow us on twitter: Follow @RefundMHLC
- Follow us on facebook:
Telephone Advice Line
Phone: (03) 9629-4422 or Victorian Country Callers freecall: 1800-555-887
If you need to talk to a lawyer please call our telephone advice line during the following times :
Monday 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Tuesday 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Wednesday 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Thursday 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Friday 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Please note that this service is only available to Victorian consumers (or their representatives provided we have obtained consumer permission) about their own issues.
The Centre can accept reverse charge calls in an emergency.
Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Closed between 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
This Web site has been created by the Mental Health Legal Centre Inc. as an educational and information resource. You should not treat such general information over the internet as being good or sufficient legal advice for any particular situation. If you find yourself in need of information about your legal rights and obligations, you should consult a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.