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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

These guidelines replace the Ministry of Health’s Victim Notification Guidelines for Directors of Area Mental Health Services and DHB Victim Notification Co-ordinators, published in November 2007.

The guidelines are intended to assist Directors of Area Mental Health Services, compulsory care coordinators or health victims’ coordinators within district health boards (DHBs) in undertaking their victims notification obligations.

The Victims’ Rights Act 2002 outlines exceptions to the Privacy Act 1993 allowing registered victims of people detained in a hospital or care facility for assessment or treatment of their mental health or intellectual disability needs to receive certain notifications about the detained person.

This includes the right to be given reasonable prior notice of the patient’s first unescorted leave and first unescorted overnight leaves from hospital, or discharge from hospital. Victims must also be told as soon as practicable if the patient is absent without official leave, dies or their sentence ends.