Your rights & responsibilities

We seek to ensure that consumers, family, carers, support people, service providers and the community involved with our service are aware of their relevant rights and responsibilities.

These videos outline your rights & responsibilities and overview compulsory treatment. Read on below for more information about your rights & responsibilities or read more about compulsory treatment.

Your rights & responsibilities - guiding principles

According to the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights, people receiving health care are entitled to:

  • Access - access services to address their health care needs
  • Safety - safe and high quality health services, provided with professional care, skill and competence
  • Respect - the provision of care that respects their culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics
  • Communication - open, timely and appropriate communication about health care in a way that they can understand
  • Participation - join in making decisions and choices about their care and about health service planning
  • Privacy - maintenance of personal privacy and proper handling of their personal health and other information
  • Feedback - comment on or complain about care and have concerns dealt with properly and promptly

Common rights and responsibilities


All people accessing our services have the right to:

  • be and feel physically and emotionally safe
  • be treated with respect and dignity
  • be spoken to in a respectful manner
  • have an opinion, express an opinion and be listened to
  • be considerate of private time and space
  • not be discriminated against
  • have access to an interpreter as required
  • be respected with regard to the confidentiality and privacy of information provided

Everyone’s right to safety

We are committed to ensuring the safety of our consumers, carers, staff and visitors.

Our inpatient units are places of recovery and as such all people present have a right to safety.  Aggressive behaviour impacts other's people's safety and recovery. We will not accept violence, physical or verbal, towards anyone (staff, consumers or carers). Any deliberate threats or acts of violence will have consequences - be referred to the police, discharge, request and pursuit of payment for property damage.

All of our inpatient units and clinics are smoke free.


All people accessing our services share the following responsibilities to:

  • be aware of the rights of others
  • communicate openly and honestly with each other
  • discuss changes in condition and treatment plans
  • discuss and clarify diagnosis and treatment
  • discuss and clarify side effects of treatment
  • work together to improve the effectiveness of treatment
  • ensure that people are treated in the least restrictive way possible
  • provide feedback on the service and care in the form of suggestions, compliments or complaints

Consumer rights

Consumers have a right to:

  • be informed about what is happening at all times, including your legal status, and be supported to make decisions about your care
  • receive information and ask questions so that you fully understand everything
  • have your rights explained in a way that you understand. Receive a copy of your rights and any Mental Health Act paperwork
  • create an Advance Statement to record what you do and don’t want to happen if you become unwell
  • make suggestions, compliments or complaints
  • choose a nominated person to support you
  • request an advocate (such as the Independent Mental Health Advocacy) to assist you
  • request a second opinion
  • request a staff member of your own gender if preferred

Family and carer rights

Families and carers have a right to:

  • be recognised, respected and supported as partners in providing care to the consumer
  • be involved in providing essential information to the clinician in the assessment phase, and in the ongoing treatment and care of the consumer
  • receive timely and easily understood information about the mental illness, its likely causes, treatment options and outcomes
  • have rights explained and a copy provided
  • be provided with support in their caring role

Nominated person rights

A nominated person has a right to:

  • represent the consumer’s interests
  • be informed and consulted about the consumer’s treatment if the consumer requires compulsory treatment

Compulsory treatment 

A person may receive compulsory treatment under the Victorian Mental Health Act 2014 if a mental health professional or an authorised psychiatrist (usually the consultant psychiatrist) believe specific criteria apply and there is not a less restrictive way for the person to receive treatment.

Find out more about compulsory treatment.

Staff rights

Staff have a right to a safe and respectful workplace with freedom from discrimination, harassment and abuse.

NorthWestern Mental Health Working with families and carers NWMH Working with Families and Carers Brochure.pdf1.29 MB