Stalking and threat causes targets (victims) to experience special problems which need to be addressed by health professionals trained in the area of stalking and threat. These health professionals are either psychologists or psychiatrists. Under the current Australian Medicare system, Commonwealth Government rebates via the HIC (Health Insurance Commission) are usually only available for psychiatrists for whom the patient obtained a referal from their doctor. Even then, there is often a "Gap" payable by the patients which can be quite a large amount of money to those on low to middle incomes. Add to this the fact that firstly, the initial consultation is usually long and follow up consultations are necessary, and the result is a very expensive exercise.
Why should victims of stalking and threat have special, Commonwealth funded treatment facilities in each State?
Stalking and threat is a specialised area of Psychology/Psychiatry and at present I believe only one State has a Stalking and Threat Management Centre. That State is Victoria (see Threat Management (Formerly the Stalking and Threat Management Centre)
The Threat Management Centre website says
"All cases first require a thorough evaluation. These are conducted on an appointment only basis. TM does not provide a telephone advisory service but is happy to discuss the suitability of referrals.
Individuals or organisations can contact TM directly to arrange an appointment. Others such as legal practitioners, police, victims of crime organisations and health professionals can also refer cases directly. Medicare benefits are payable on the medical specialist component of these services, provided a referral from a medical practitioner is obtained. Fees will be discussed with clients prior to their initial appointment.
The first appointment is for assessment purposes only. Clients are advised to bring along all relevant information and any evidence of the harassment (e.g. letters). The material should be photocopied beforehand. This applies even when the harassment appears to have ceased and the referral is primarily for counselling to deal with the emotional aftermath. Once the assessment is complete, a course of action will be formulated. In some instances, this may involve recommendations regarding referral to a more suitable service.
TM requests 24 hours notice when cancelling appointments."
The provision of a Stalking and Threat Management Centre in every State should be a basic right for Australian citizens. Quite often, the legal system cannot deal with stalkers for various reasons including the difficulty in collecting evidence, the opportunistic nature of the crime and more. With the statistical increase over time of many ordinary people becoming victims of stalking, the effects on these people including the effects on whole families need to be dealth with by properly trained and educated health professionals who have undertaken extra studies and education in the area of stalking and related fields such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder etc.
If you agree with this view, write to both the Commonwealth Minister of Health and your State Minister of
Health and ask that a special unit be set up to help victims of stalking and threat.
You may also ask that these centres by fully funded by Medicare or that the Gap is waived by Medicare (HIC)
for those with health care cards.
Click here to return to the front page of the Australian Anti-stalking website