Mind is continuing its campaign for equal justice by collaborating on a major two-year research project funded by the Big Lottery fund.
The project is delivered in partnership with Victim Support and a number of leading London Universities – Kings College London, University College London and Kingston University and St George’s University of London.
The research is investigating whether people with mental health problems are more likely to be victims of crime. It's also exploring the barriers people with mental health problems face in reporting crime and accessing justice and what helps them, or could help them, to report crime and access justice.
The research is being conducted in London, exploring the experiences of people aged over 18 years who have mental health problems and have been victims of crime in the last three years. Findings will be disseminated widely, used to influence policy and practice in key criminal justice agencies and to improve service delivery within the organisations undertaking this research.
Justice for all
Along with other charities, advice agencies and campaigners, Mind is calling for everyone to be treated fairly under the law, no matter who they are, how much money they have or where they live.
Find out about the campaign against the Coalition Government's proposed reforms to legal aid.
Prosecutors' toolkit published
Mind has published a mental health toolkit 'Achieving access to justice for victims and witnesses with mental distress', aimed at prosecutors and independent barristers who handle cases involving victims and witnesses with mental distress.
The prosecutors' toolkit complements Mind's good practice guide ‘Police and mental health – how to get it right locally’, which was published earlier this year.
Read more about our work on improving how the police respond to people with experience of mental distress, including how you can help campaign on this issue.
Campaign for equal justice
I didn't leave my house for years because my agoraphobia made me petrified to go outside I had to trust my neighbours with my bank card and my PIN... even though I knew they were stealing from me and taking advantage.
A shocking 71 per cent of people with mental health problems experience hate crimes, harassment and abuse in their communities. Most fail to report them and those that do feel failed by the system.
- everyone has an equal right to personal safety
- those experiencing mental distress have the same rights to justice as anyone else.
- Read the Another assault report
Success for Another assault
In Hackney, East London, a police officer with responsibility for mental health has set up a monthly drop-in surgery at the local branch of Mind, so that people with mental health problems can feel more confident to approach the police about crimes or concerns. He has also provided mental health awareness training to all frontline officers in Hackney.
What we are fighting for
- increased responsibilities for health professionals to report crimes on mental health wards to the police
- a comprehensive Government strategy to tackle hate crime
- improved practice by the police towards people with mental distress when they report crime and abuse
- guidance for prosecutors on when mental health does and does not affect how credible or reliable a witness is.
We have already acheived:
- The National Police Improvement Agency, on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers, has now launched its new training and guidance for all police on how they should respond to people with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
- The Crown Prosecution Service has published a public policy statement and prosecution guidance on mental health, and is currently piloting mental health awareness training.
Mind made substantial contributions to the development of these programmes.
- Help to promote our police guide by contacting your local police force.
- If you are part of a local group or local Mind, find out how you can get involved in campaigning.
- Become a campaigner for Mind.
- Write to your MP asking them to fight for the protection of Legal Aid.