The Disability Services Act 1993 (DSA) provides the legislative framework to enable the operation of residential facilities for people with disabilities in the NT. The role of the Community Visitor Program (CVP) is set out in Part 6 of the Act.

The legislation applies to three different types of residential facilities.

The first  type of residential facility covered under the act are ‘Secure Care Facilities’, where persons with complex cognitive impairment who are engaging in repetitive high-risk behaviours which are likely to result in harm to themselves or to others, may be placed. In this situation, the placement is involuntary and is made under a supervision or treatment order, so the person can receive therapeutic treatment. Eligibility for admission to the Secure Care Facility depends upon these criteria being met and the likely benefit a person may obtain from the treatment.

The second type, ‘Appropriate Places’, are residences for persons placed on a supervision order made by the Courts under the Criminal Code (other than Secure Care).

Lastly, there are provisions for ‘Other Residential Facilities’ where a person with a disability may live and receive treatment and care, administered by the Department of Health (DoH).

The Secure Care Facility in the Northern Territory is in Alice Springs. It is visited monthly by Community Visitors. There are a number of Appropriate Places in the Northern Territory, and these are visited quarterly. While there is no statutory obligation in relation to visiting other residential facilities, the CVP aims to visit any such places on a quarterly basis.

If you are receiving treatment from NT Office of Disability (Specialist Services) or if you have a “genuine interest” in a person receiving treatment, you can contact the CVP.

A person with a “genuine interest” is any person who cares for a person with complex cognitive impairment; relatives, friends and support people as well as people who are providing services to a person (including health service staff).

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