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A comparison of the reported use of involuntary treatment orders within Australian jurisdictions [2018]

Objective:
This paper identifies publicly available data about the use of involuntary treatment orders within Australia and considers whether this reporting is sufficient given the gravity of the intervention.

Method:
A search of mental health tribunal, health department and justice department annual reports was conducted to determine the use of involuntary treatment orders in Australia.

Results:
Reporting of involuntary treatment orders varied significantly across jurisdictions; for example, South Australia reported 11,570 distinct orders made during a 12-month period while the Australian Capital Territory reported 627 for the same period.

Conclusion:
The publicly available data for involuntary treatment orders in Australia is inadequate for jurisdictional comparisons. This concern should be addressed to enable transparent public reporting and facilitate benchmarking.

Bobbie Clugston, Amy Young, Edward B Heffernan

Australasian Psychiatry, July 30, 2018

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