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Research suggests that individuals with a mental illness and/or intellectual disability are over-represented in all stages in the Criminal Justice Process (Butler & Alnutt, 2003). LINKS is a specialist mental health program that runs from PCC. It works alongside the court and focuses on building trusting relationships with a group of highly vulnerable young people who have serious emotional and mental health needs. These needs are clinically assessed on site by trained clinical staff; thereafter LINKS facilitates access to a suggested agency (or agencies) that would best support the young person to assist and promote their mental wellbeing. The main aim of LINKS is to correctly identify the presence of mental health issues and give the Children’s Court accurate evidence with which to divert young people into the relevant programmes to treat mental health issues, address broader life issues and to help prevent re-offending. The overall aims for the LINKS program are to: improve the health and wellbeing of LINKS participants; enhance community safety; support the Children’s Court to discharge its functions appropriately and efficiently; and divert young people where possible away from the criminal justice system. Programs are reliant on refunding, and their services need to be established to provide a case for or against effectiveness and uniqueness of services. This study investigated the perceptions of a target sample of professionals regarding the LINKS program. The sample included professionals belonging to agencies who refer to, utilise, or provide services for the LINKS program. The findings indicated that LINKS was perceived to address a gap in service delivery; LINKS added value to existing youth mental health services; that LINKS did not duplicate other services; and perceptions of how LINKS could be improved.

Funding agency

ECU – Industry Collaboration Grant

Project duration

January 2015 - December 2015


Dr Natalie Gately
Dr James McCue
Miss Suzanne Ellis

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