Taking a health-first approach helps people receive the support they need and aims to avoid situations escalating to a level where harm or a criminal conviction may result.
About the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre
A Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) is a prevention-focused collaboration that brings together police and mental health professionals to share information, conduct assessments, and facilitate mental health treatment, law enforcement, and other interventions to manage the risks posed by fixated people.
In this context, the term 'fixated' refers to a very specific type of behaviour, where someone has an obsessional pre-occupation with a person, place or cause which is pursued to an irrational degree.
While fixated people may cause harm to other people and groups, often it is the fixated person themselves who suffers most. The fixated person's family and friends may also be impacted. Fixated people need and deserve appropriate mental health and other interventions.
What the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre does
FTAC serves two purposes; to allow agencies understand a fixated person's behaviour and the supports available to them, and to ensure appropriate interventions are in place where possible.
It is a collaboration between Health and Police and the Parliamentary Service, with dedicated mental health professionals to assess people's needs and facilitate help where necessary. FTAC works by sharing appropriate information to reduce the level of concern for fixated people to themselves and others.
In September 2017 Health and Police, with Parliamentary Service Security and the 3DHB Mental Health, Addictions, and Intellectual Disability Service, established a small trial of the concept.
The FTAC trial focussed on the threats presented to Members of Parliament by a small number of fixated people, with referrals via the Parliamentary Service.
Consistent with overseas research, the trial highlighted that although some fixated people were already known to agencies, a coordinated response may not happen without a service like FTAC to facilitate this.
As of 1 July 2019, FTAC has been established on a permanent basis.
Privacy and sharing information
The privacy of people’s information is of paramount importance. FTAC has consulted with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and has protocols and processes to protect personal and health information, consistent with the Privacy Act 2020 and the Health Information Privacy Code.