An applicant or their legal representative may on their own initiative file a psychological or psychiatric assessment report, prepared by a suitably qualified practitioner, in circumstances where the practitioner preparing the report does not propose to provide counselling or treatment to the applicant.
All expenses awarded for assessment reports filed by an applicant or their legal representative are at the discretion of the Tribunal.
Psychologists or psychiatrists who assess and report to the Tribunal as to the psychological/psychiatric condition and counselling needs of an applicant are required to prepare their reports in the format set out in Practice Direction 2 of 2021 - Psychological/Psychiatric assessment reports by non-treating practitioners.
If a fee is claimed for the assessment report, a completed Counselling and Report Fee Invoice for the expenses associated with the assessment report must accompany the report when filed with the Tribunal (Form 5, Practice Direction 1 of 2021- Awards for counselling expenses).
Treating counsellor reports
In February 2021, the Tribunal issued new counselling forms for applications for financial assistance for counselling expenses. The new forms clearly set out the information required from treating practitioners and have made it easier for the Tribunal to assess:
- The qualifications of the proposed counsellor to diagnose and/or treat the applicant;
- The appropriateness and efficacy of the proposed treatment to assist the applicant to recover from the act of violence;
- Whether the proposed cost of the treatment is reasonable;
- The progress of treatment provided to an applicant when further treatment is recommended; and
- To ensure that the applicant has been informed by the counsellor of the proposed treatment and endorses it.
A counsellor must prepare one of the following reports in support of an application for an award of financial assistance for counselling expenses:
(Form 1, Practice Direction 1 of 2021 - Awards for counselling expenses)
A report in this format is required when a counsellor has provided up to five hours of counselling, and the applicant does not seek an award for further counselling.
(Form 2, Practice Direction 1 of 2021 - Awards for counselling expenses)
A report in this format is required where the applicant seeks an award for more than 5 hours of counselling.
(Form 3, Practice Direction 1 of 2021 - Awards for counselling expenses)
A report in this format is required when an applicant requests further counselling beyond that previously awarded by the Tribunal (that is, after an initial application for counselling expenses has already been approved).
All reports must be accompanied by:
- An Application for Counselling form signed by the applicant (Form 4, Practice Direction 1 of 2021); and
- If a fee is claimed for the report, a completed Counselling and Report Fee Invoice for that report (Form 5, Practice Direction 1 of 2021); and
- If a fee is claimed for the counselling sessions already provided, a completed Counselling and Report Fee Invoice for that counselling (Form 5, Practice Direction 1 of 2021).
Change of counselling practitioner
In the event that an applicant ceases treatment with the author of a previously approved treatment plan and approaches another counsellor for counselling, the proposed counsellor must write to the Tribunal to advise that they agree to provide counselling services consistent with the approved treatment plan, or to propose a new treatment plan. The Tribunal will then consider authorising that the previously awarded counselling be provided by the new counsellor.
The Tribunal is unlikely to pay any counselling expenses incurred by the applicant with a counsellor with whom the Tribunal has not authorised the applicant to incur expenses.