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Monday, 11 August 2003
Page: 13139

Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 6 June 2003:

(1) Which centres have high risk assessment teams (HRAT) or similar arrangements to identify and observe people who may be at risk of harm to themselves.

(2) (a) How does such an entity function; and (b) under what law or regulation is it established.

(3) (a) What are the minimum skills and expertise required of such an entity; (b) who selects the members of that team and for what period of time are members selected; and (c) is there a review process.

(4) Is there, or has there been at any time, in any centre a procedure whereby detainees under selected observation are watched, woken or required to respond to regular inspection; if so, do regular inspections take place every 15 minutes; if not, what is the interval and who sets it.

Senator Ellison (Minister for Justice and Customs) —The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) All Immigration Detention Facilities have High Risk Assessment Teams.

(2) (a) All detainees are to be screened and assessed for risk of self-harm or suicide upon arrival at a detention centre. Detainees identified as being `At Risk' are provided with an appropriate `At Risk Treatment Plan'. The function of the High Risk Assessment Team is to observe, manage and ensure appropriate treatment of the `At Risk' detainee.

(b) There is no law or regulation governing High Risk Assessment Team(s), however, the management of these teams is guided by Australasian Correctional Management Pty Ltd policy, which is agreed to by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.

(3) (a) The High Risk Assessment Team composition must include a:

· Chairperson as appointed by the Health Services Coordinator;

· Registered Mental Health Nurse;

· Psychologist or Counsellor;

· Health Support Officer; and

· Detention Supervisor or delegate.

Individual detention facilities can expand the High Risk Assessment Team composition as required.

(b) High Risk Assessment Team members are selected by Australasian Correctional Management according to the requirement above. An individual's tenure to the High Risk Assessment Team is governed by Australasian Correctional Management.

(c) Any review of membership of the High-Risk Assessment Team is governed by Australasian Correctional Management and the High Risk Assessment Team chairperson.

(4) An `At Risk' detainee is assigned an individual case manager ie: a Psychiatrist, Counsellor, Doctor or Mental Health Nurse, who determines the level of treatment sessions, including the level of observation required. A detainee under observation is watched by detention officers, or other specialised staff dependent on case management requirements, to ensure they do not commit an act of self-harm or the potential to commit harm to others. Sleeping detainees are observed for well being or any evidence of self-harm.

Observation intervals can be as frequent as every two minutes or less frequent at two-hourly. It is possible that during these observations a detainee is accidentally woken during sleep.