Forensic Services Standards

Exciting new STANDARDS for organisations providing community based services to forensic clients.

"These standards will bridge a gap in the sector where offenders are given a voice and every opportunity to rebuild their lives and reintegrate successfully into the community"

-The Hon. Justice Paul Coghlan, Former Justice at the Supreme Court of Victoria and ACSO Justice Innovation Committee Chair

Benefits to Organisations

  • Allows organisations to review how inclusive and sensitive services are to forensic clients;

  • Organisations can identify improvement opportunities and to monitor and evaluate the progress made from those improvements; and

  • Assists organisations in planning and establishing a new forensic client service.


Benefits to Clients

  • Ensures that the specialist needs of clients with a criminal history are accommodated in service delivery;

  • Helps improve the experience of this client group; and

  • Assist clients get achieve their goals.

About the Forensic Services Standards

ACSO has identified that amongst the suite of quality assurance standards that organisations are assessed against, the specialist needs of clients with a criminal history are not accommodated.

To address this gap, and in alignment with our vision to create a safe and inclusive community freed of crime and prison, ACSO has invested in the development of these Standards with the objective to share this resource with the sector and organisations that may not normally work with this client group.

Organisations can use the Standards in different ways:

  • as an internal audit tool that can be used to review how inclusive and sensitive their organisation and its services are, to forensic clients;

  • as a guideline or checklist to help identify opportunities for making improvements and to monitor and evaluate the progress made from those improvements; and

  • as a framework of reference to assist in planning and establishing a new service for forensic clients. 


The Standards and Implementation Guide

The Forensic Services Standards comprises of seven standards:

  1. Service Accessibility

  2. Service Delivery Practices

  3. Privacy and Confidentiality

  4. Risks and Rights

  5. Professional Development

  6. Organisational Values and Culture

  7. Advocacy and Community Education 


ACSO has developed the following resources to help organisations implement the Standards:

  • The Forensic Services Standards: An Overview provides detailed information about each standard and sub-standard.


  • The  Standards are supported by an Implementation Guide that provides a summary of the intent behind the development of each of the standards and sub-standards and a self-assessment tool to facilitate the organisations reflection on their current processes against the Standards. Through the self-assessment, organisations will identify its strengths and areas for improvement.




It is our hope that organisations will use these resources to further enhance the quality of their services and support for forensic clients, meet the specialist needs of this client group and more broadly provide a safe and inclusive community.


The Standards apply to organisations providing community based services to forensic clients. It was designed specifically for organisations:

  • Planning a new service for forensic clients; or

  • Improving existing services for forensic clients; or

  • Wanting to be more inclusive of forensic clients.


The term “forensic client” refers to people:

  • aged 18 and over (individual or groups);a

  • who have a criminal history or have had formal involvement with the Criminal Justice  System but did not obtain a criminal record; 

  • who are currently or will be receiving community based services; and

  • who access the services voluntarily or mandated by a court order.


Forensic clients can also have co-occurring conditions such as mental health issues, disability, drug and alcohol issues and acquired brain injury which can also hinder their ability to participate in services.