MHDCD Project

7.8 Crime Victimisation People with Complex Needs who are the Victims of Crime: building evidence for responsive support

This project, funded by NSW Department of Police and Justice and conducted by Assoc Prof Leanne Dowse, Assoc Prof Kimberlie Dean, Julian Trofimovs and Dr Stacy Tzoumakis utilised the MHDCD Dataset to provide a detailed description of the nature and experience of crime victimisation for an identified group of people with complex needs in NSW, including those who have intellectual disability and mental health disorders and other co-occurring experiences of social disadvantage and who have been in the criminal justice system as offenders. Through interview and consultation with key organisations delivering services or representing the interests of this group, the project has also explored the current context of service delivery in NSW, identified key current challenges in providing responsive, appropriate and adequate support to this group and identified current gaps and innovative or best practice where it currently exists. Findings suggest that victimisation is very common in the lives of people with complex needs who offend and that violent victimisation occurs at a higher rate for women, Aboriginal Australians, those with a history of homelessness and those who had experienced custody as a juvenile. Aboriginal Australians on average experience their first victimisation at a younger age than non-Aboriginal people.  Findings also suggest that it is not simply the presence of a disability that increases vulnerability to victimisation, but rather the interaction of multiple and compounding disability and social disadvantage operates to increase vulnerability to violence. Interviews with representative and service provider organisations identified barriers to the provision of responsive and appropriate services for this group. These barriers include a general lack of capacity of mainstream support services to cater to the needs of this group, poor communication and awareness of services that are available, low levels of identification and engagement of people with complex needs in services generally, restricted availability and accessibility of services and the reluctance of people with complex needs to engage who generally have had poor experiences with services in the past. Enablers for better responses were identified as service flexibility and accessibility, proactive and outreach service models, which require workers skilled in the recognition, identification and assessment of victimisation and its impacts on those with complex needs.

Back to top