Dr Lynne Coulson Barr is Victoria’s first Mental Health Complaints Commissioner.
Dr Coulson Barr has extensive experience in mental health, disability and dispute resolution, with specialist expertise in improving access and participation in independent complaint and review processes.
Before her appointment as Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, Dr Coulson Barr served as the Victorian Deputy Disability Services Commissioner. A former President of the Intellectual Disability Review Panel, Dr Coulson Barr also served on a number of state and federal bodies, including the Victorian Mental Health Review Board, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
In these roles, Dr Coulson Barr has conducted inquiries and investigations into critical incidents in both mental health and disability services, including the use of restrictive practices. She has authored two key publications which focus on approaches to safeguarding people’s rights in services. The first is a key resource for safeguarding strategies in disability services titled ‘Safeguarding people’s right to be free from abuse’, a publication of the Disability Services Commissioner in Victoria. The second report was recently produced in her role as Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, titled ‘The right to be safe: ensuring sexual safety in acute mental health inpatient units.’
Both reports have addressed issues from a human rights perspective, and highlighted the obligations under relevant legislation and conventions, including the implications of Australia’s ratification of OPCAT.