Key messages

  • The charter of rights and responsibilities ensures that young people, parents and carers know their rights and responsibilities.
  • The charter complies with the National Standards for Mental Health Services.
  • The charter covers privacy, participation in treatment, leaving a service, complaints, the role of the parent or carer and rights of the person being treated.

The charter of rights and responsibilities ensures that young people, parents and carers know their rights and responsibilities, and can be confident their rights will be upheld by the service.

The scope of the charter covers rights to privacy, freedom of information, freedom of choice and freedom of expression and includes the expected roles and responsibilities of parents and carers.

The charter complies with the National Standards for Mental Health Services.

Dignity and respect

Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their family background, race, religion, age, gender, ethnicity or abilities.

Right to information

Parents and carers have the right to:

  • receive a written statement of their rights and have the opportunity to discuss them with staff
  • ask questions and receive answers in a way that they can understand
  • have an appropriately trained interpreter
  • knowledge about how the service operates
  • know how to access the service after hours or in an emergency
  • receive sufficient information and support for them to make a contribution to the care and treatment of the child or young person, depending on their age and stage of development, except when this infringes on the child’s or young person’s rights to privacy and confidentiality.

Privacy

Parents and carers have the right to:

  • receive written information and a verbal explanation about what happens to their personal information
  • confidentiality regarding their personal information; however, there are some exceptions to this in the law
  • be asked for their permission to be involved in research or training
  • expect that identifying information will not be included if used as a case study for research or training
  • access the child's or young person's file where appropriate. (This is provided for under Freedom of Information legislation and may have a cost associated). Note that existing court orders and/or custody status may impact on the decision to release information.

Choice and participation

Parents and carers have the right to:

  • have their language and their cultural and religious practices respected
  • ask questions regarding care and treatment and to have their questions answered in a way they can understand
  • have input into decisions regarding care and treatment and have their opinions respected
  • express their concerns about treatment and/or ask for a second opinion and feel comfortable in doing so
  • give feedback about the service and be involved in participation processes
  • be informed that their involvement in the treatment may change as the young person matures.

The service prefers to get input from parents or carers before making decisions about care and treatment. However, a young person's wishes may be accepted if they are seen to have developed the necessary ability and understanding to consent to treatment.

Leaving the service

Parents and carers have the right to:

  • be involved in discussion and decision making when planning for the future
  • be given both verbal and written information that details the child's or young person's involvement with the service
  • know how to re-contact the service after leaving
  • information about other services available and how to access them, including a referral where appropriate.

Complaints

Parents and carers have the right to:

  • written information about how to make a complaint
  • make a formal complaint about anything of concern to them while using the service
  • make a complaint without fear of being disadvantaged
  • be kept informed about the progress of their complaint
  • expect that any complaint will be responded to in a respectful and timely manner.

Role and responsibilities of the parent or carer

Parents and carers have a lot to contribute in helping and supporting the child or young person. They will get the most out of the service if they are advised to:

  • keep appointment times, or if unable to do so, notify the service as soon as possible
  • treat staff with courtesy
  • respect the privacy and needs of others attending the service
  • treat staff as partners in assisting the child or young person
  • provide accurate and honest information to help the service in the treatment of the child or young person
  • let staff know if they do not understand any advice given them
  • be actively involved in the care and treatment of their child
  • be aware that choosing not to act on advice may affect the outcome of treatment
  • be aware of the child's or young person's rights.

The child and young person's rights

While a child is attending a mental health service they have the right to:

  • be told about the service and why they are going
  • be supported in a safe environment
  • talk about how they are feeling
  • be listened to
  • ask as many questions as they want and receive answers they can understand
  • have an opinion about what directly affects them
  • be included in decisions about their treatment
  • spend time on their own with the worker if they wish
  • be supported in telling someone if they are unhappy with anything about the service
  • access their own health information if they are capable of consent, and it is consistent with the Health Records Act 2001 and the Freedom of Information Act 1982.