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Southern DHB Forensic Services

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    The Southern DHB Forensic Mental Health Service provides clinical expertise in assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for people who are involved in the criminal justice system. Using contemporary forensic models of care which are characterised by mutual respect and an individualised approach with an emphasis on the least restrictive level of care possible.

    Wakari Hospital provides Inpatient Forensic Mental Health Services at Ward 9A as well as Community Forensic Mental Health Services, Court Liaison Nurse and Prison Liaison Nurse services to provide assessments and support.

    Southland Hospital provides Community Forensic Mental Health Services.

    Youth Forensic Services are provided by a mobile service based out of Southland Hospital and 8 Moray Place, Dunedin. For more information, please see Southern DHB Child & Youth Mental Health Services.


    A highly skilled specialised multidisciplinary team provides intensive therapy, education, and support through to recovery in a safe, supportive and secure environment. The team seeks to work collaboratively with whānau and significant others with a firm commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. The care we provide is underpinned by the Recovery Competencies. Recovery is described as 'a life worth living' regardless of the presence or absence of illness'. It is about restoring hope, discovering and building strengths, and celebrating success. The Forensic Service is committed to meeting the best practice guidelines, and is compliant with the established Health and Disability Services Standards NZS 8134:2008


    Inpatient Forensic Mental Health Service

    Ward 9A is a 13-bed medium secure unit for Otago and Southland consumers who are involved with the justice system and require assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. Clients have either been charged with a criminal offence or alleged to have offended and are known or suspected to have a mental illness, or require assessment and treatment whilst serving a Prison Sentence, or are unable to be managed safely in general mental health services. A full complement of a multidisciplinary team delivers a range of therapeutic services and programmes in this setting. Ward 9A has a strong emphasis on linking consumers with families (whānau) and support persons and reintegration into the wider community.


    Wakari Hospital, Dunedin

    Community Forensic Mental Health Service

    Forensic psychiatry deals with the assessment, treatment and long term management of those patients whose mental disorder affects their behaviour to such a degree that they are liable to or have offended against the law.

    The team includes:

    • Community Support Worker
    • Forensic Mental Health Nurse
    • Maori Health Advisor (Kaumatua)
    • Forensic Psychiatrist
    • Psychologist
    • Social Worker

    Assessment and treatment:

    This is a Mental Health assessment, in conjunction with the client; a treatment plan will be developed to meet their specific needs. 

    Support and treatment:

    Ongoing support and education will be provided to clients, their family/whanau/care‐givers as well as community organisations.


    Regular reviews are held and discharge is planned with the client to ensure that sufficient support is available.

    Court Liaison Service

    The service provides:

    • Initial informal Court reports that include mental state examination and risk assessment.
    • Support / guidance on relevant legislation.
    • Provide recommendations to the Courts.
    • Arrange formal Court reports with the Forensic Psychiatrist. 
    • Treatment and follow up in conjunction with Forensic Psychiatrist.
    • Support and education to clients and family/whanau.
    • Cultural input/consultation.
    • Provide liaison, support and education for clients and staff within the Justice system. 
    • Liaison and referrals to other agencies, if appropriate, Eg:
      • Child and Family Therapy Service
      • Alcohol and Drug Service
      • Psychological counselling
    • Liaison with Prison Liaison Nurse for sentenced/remand inmates who require support. 

    Prison Liaison Service

    The service provides:

    • Access to Forensic Psychiatrist on weekly basis.
    • Mental Health Assessment and Risk Management.
    • Access, if appropriate, to a Forensic Social Worker for support and information gathering for family/whanau.
    • Arrange court ordered Psychiatric Assessments.
    • Treatment and follow‐up in conjunction with the Forensic Psychiatrist.
    • Support and education to clients and family/whanau.
    • Cultural input/consultation
    • Provide liaison, support and education for prisoners and staff within the Department of Corrections.
    • Liaise with prison medical staff and letter sent to Medical Officer after each outpatient appointment with the Forensic Psychiatrist. 
    • Liaison with prison medical staff and Medical Officer.
    • Liaison with other agencies if input for inmate useful i.e. Child and Family Therapy Services, Alcohol and other Drug Services, Psychological Counselling. 
    • Liaison with the Court Liaison Service for remand inmates who require our support.
    • Relevant documentation in prison medication notes.


    There are no fees for services to public patients if you are lawfully in New Zealand and meet one of the eligibility criteria set by the Ministry of Health. If you do not meet the criteria, you will be required to pay for the full cost of any medical treatment you recieve during your stay.

    To check whether you meet the specified eligibility criteria, visit the Ministry of Health website