Specialist disability support

We provide and fund services for people with a disability who are, or at risk of becoming, involved in the criminal justice system or who have multiple and complex needs

Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative

The Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative (MACNI) is a time-limited specialist service for people 16 years and older, who have been identified as having multiple and complex needs. This includes people with combinations of:

  • Mental illness
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Cognitive disability
  • Acquired brain injury 
  • Forensic issues.

Often these individuals pose a risk to themselves and to the community.

MACNI's primary purpose is to facilitate better coordination of supports and services to people with complex needs, deliver holistic care and prevent further escalation of need.  Participation in MACNI is voluntary.

MACNI is underpinned by the Human Services (Complex Needs) Act 2009. See the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website for more information on the Act.

MACNI is a shared service across the Department of Families Fairness and Housing (DFFH) in partnership with the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

Forensic Disability Services

Forensic Disability Services supports people with cognitive impairment involved in the criminal justice system, who require specialist support and adapted intervention to address criminogenic needs. The program operates alongside the broader justice and disability service system and other mainstream services, to address disability specific factors contributing to a person’s risk of offending.

For more information, see the Forensic Disability Services page on our Services website.

Serious Offenders Coordination

Victoria’s post-sentence scheme is supported by the Serious Offenders Act 2018 (the Act). The Act provides a framework for dealing with eligible serious offenders, as defined in s8 of the Act, who have served custodial sentences in Victoria and who continue to pose an unacceptable risk to the community upon completing their sentence.

The Act replaced the Serious Sex Offenders Act 2009, which only applied to serious sex offences. The Act applies to both serious sex offenders, who have been sentenced for offences such as rape or sexual intercourse with a child under 16, and to serious violence offenders, who have been sentenced for offences such as murder, manslaughter or arson. 

Please note that this Act applies to all persons who have committed a crime that meets the legislative threshold and is not limited to people with a disability.

The purpose of the Act is to:

  • Primarily to provide enhanced  protection of the community by requiring offenders who have served prison sentences for certain sex and violence offences, and who continue to present unacceptable risk of committing further offences, to be subject to a detention or supervision order
  • Secondly, to facilitate the treatment and rehabilitation of the offenders.

The Act establishes:

  • the Post Sentence Authority, an independent body that monitors the progress of offenders on supervision orders and oversees the coordination and delivery of services to offenders on supervision orders by relevant Departments and agencies
  • imposes legislative obligations on the Parties to improve the coordination and delivery of services to Post Sentence Offenders to reduce their risk to the community
  • Parties to establish at least one Multi-Agency Panel to exercise their shared legislative responsibilities and functions as well as a commitment to extend service obligations funded through contractual arrangements and service agreements.

The Act requires The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), Department of Health (DH), Victoria Police and the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) to operate within the Principle of Shared Responsibility to:

  • Develop and review a Coordinated Services Plan (CSP) for each offender no later than six months after it was agreed or last reviewed
  • Provide reasonable assistance and support to the responsible agencies and relevant parties
  • Share information in accordance with s284 of the Act
  • Identify and take steps to resolve issues relating to the delivery of services.

Serious Offenders Coordination team

The Serious Offenders Coordination Team (SOCT) supports DFFH and DH, and their funded agencies, to meet their obligations of the Act.

The team:

  • Coordinates service responses for the development and review of a CSP
  • Promotes improved service responses and manages escalated responses from the DJCS’s Post Sentence Branch
  • Supports the DFFH’s Multi-Agency Panel members
  • Supports the DH’s Multi-Agency Panel members
  • Coordinates, responds and reports on notices from the Post Sentence Authority
  • Provides education and capacity building in the Act legislation to DFFH and DH funded services.

Prior to a CSP being presented to the Multi-Agency Panel, the team commences a CSP development cycle 35 days prior to the Multi-Agency Panel meeting date. There are four phases that the four responsible agencies utilise to ensure plans follow the development calendar and the deadlines for each phase is met.

The SOCT liaise with DFFH and DH services where the serious offender is engaged in with social or clinical programs. A CSP Conference is convened where the services attend, and collectively the first iteration of the CSP is developed. 

The SOCT and the other coordination teams will continue to work with their respective services to ensure any blockers to service access are actively managed and the CSP contains information that the Multi-Agency Panel delegates require to make informed decisions to endorse the CSP.

The Multi-Agency Panel meetings are convened fortnightly where 10 to 15 CSP’s are presented. The SOCT works with two sub teams to manage the timely development of the CSP’s within the given deadlines of each phase.

Following the Multi-Agency Panel meetings, actions identified by the Multi-Agency Panel members are followed up by the SOCT, and completed and returned within four business days.

The Post Sentence Authority reports the KPI which capture CSP’s being reviewed within the legislative time frames.

Information disclosure and use

Section 284 of the Serious Offenders Act 2018 states who can use and disclose information, and for what purpose.

For a person employed with DFFH and DH, and a person delivering a service or advice on behalf of the Departments, information use and disclosure is allowed for:

  • Preparing reports, plans or any other documents required by the Act
  • Making or responding to an application under the Act
  • Preparing and reviewing CSP’s
  • Delivering or providing services in a CSP
  • Managing an offender.

Further information

If you require additional information email the Serious Offenders Coordination team at SOCT@dffh.vic.gov.au or see the related resources section.