A new working party has been established to review problem gambling in the Victorian criminal justice system in response to recommendations made in a report released today by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.
Problem Gambling and the Criminal Justice System highlights possible areas for improvement associated with the identification, recording and treatment of problem gambling within the justice system.
Mr Serge Sardo, CEO of the Foundation said the research represents an important first step in understanding and responding to the treatment needs of problem gamblers in the Victorian criminal justice system.
"The working party, including representatives from Corrections Victoria, Victoria Police, and the Victorian Courts has begun to implement a number of initiatives," he said.
- Victoria Police has incorporated Gambler's Help as a referral option in their Supportlink system, which captures information about offenders during police investigations.
- Corrections Victoria is reviewing a screening tool for offenders within custody to include a question relating to gambling.
- The Victorian courts are working with the Foundation to investigate opportunities to implement an appropriate problem gambling screening process at the Magistrates' court.
- In a survey of 173 prisoners, a third were classified as problem gamblers, indicating the incidence of problem gamblers may be higher among offenders than the general Victorian community.
These findings support international research on problem gambling among prisoner populations, as confirmed by a comprehensive literature review.
The Foundation will establish a working group with Gambler's Help services to develop consistent approaches of engaging with the Victorian criminal justice system and improving access to targeted Gambler's Help interventions.
"We believe a united approach will enhance the support and treatment for problem gamblers in the criminal justice system," Mr Sardo said.
The Foundation is committed to addressing the needs of all problem gamblers in Victoria, using research to inform and enhance community education initiatives and effective treatment services.
Download the report: Problem gambling and the criminal justice system