Breaking the cycle


Key messages

  • The Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) manages the Independent Third Person (ITP) Program. The program trains volunteers to assist people
    with cognitive impairments and mental illnesses to communicate in their interviews with Victoria Police.
  • OPA is concerned about the number of people who are ‘repeat presenters’ before the program. A repeat presenter is a person who has used the
    program at least twice. OPA’s records indicate that one third of people who access the program are repeat presenters. These findings tie in with
    broader research which shows that people with cognitive impairments and mental illnesses can be vulnerable to having repeat contact with crime.
  • People with cognitive impairments and mental illnesses in the criminal justice system require access to early intervention strategies, including
    advocacy.
  • The program has a clear opportunity to provide an early intervention strategy targeted at people with disabilities who are at risk of having repeat
    contact with crime. The program has the strong desire and the right ethos to assist these people.
  • 'Breaking the Cycle’ developed a model for a practical and cost-effective advocacy and referral scheme that can be implemented by the program.
    The proposed scheme capitalises on the positive relationships that exist between ITP volunteers and the people they support in police interviews.
    These positive relationships provide an opportunity to launch clients into the services and support they need to live a more productive life.

Downloadable Resources