MHDCD Project

7.7 Complex Needs at the Interface of Human and Justice Services

A PhD thesis to be submitted in 2016 by Alexander Sewell under the supervision of Assoc Prof Leanne Dowse and Dr Tony Eardley, this work sits at the intersection of social policy, criminology, public policy and implementation studies and considers the policy significance of people who are have ‘complex needs’, who experience a range of intersecting social issues that are both within and outside of the remit of responding agencies.  Utilising the MHDCD Dataset, this study developed a range of detailed life course case studies for individuals who are both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and includes individuals with and without intellectual disabilities.  The study explores patterns of interactions between people with complex needs, social services and the criminal justice system, and develops a theoretically robust conceptualisation of complex needs as relational, as the product of interactions between multiply disadvantaged individuals and the agencies enacting policy and locates the problem of complex needs not only in the individual experiencing multiple forms of disadvantage but also in the policy and service responses that the person experiences. The findings of the thesis will inform social and other policy responses to people with complex needs in the human and justice service systems.

Back to top