The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is deeply concerned over the recent reporting regarding patient Timothy Kosowicz, in particular by Network 7. The reporting was intrusive, and stigmatising of people with mental illness and lacked balance.
We sympathise with the family of Chloe Hoson and the ongoing distress they experience, these are sensitive issues which need to be handled with care because of the potential to distress, traumatise audience members who have personal experience amongst their families and friends jeopardise patients recovery.
The RANZCP seeks to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and disability to create a more accepting and equal society. Patients who are acquitted on insanity grounds – or found unfit to stand trial – deserve effective, ethical health care and management and consideration of their human rights. Such reporting may have flow on effects to other patients acquitted on the basis of insanity or mental impairment.
These principles are consistent with Australia and New Zealand’s international and domestic commitments to protect the human rights of forensic patients.
Further information is available via the RANZCP Position Statement 90 ‘Principles for the treatment of persons found not criminally responsible’ accessible here.