Client Service Centre – Ex-User Involvement at the “Woenselse Poort” in the Netherlands

The process of recovery is often more difficult for forensic psychiatric clients than for people who are treated within the ‘regular’ mental healthcare system. Within a secure facility such as De Woenselse Poort (‘the Woensel Gateway’), the Client Service Centre was set up with a view to offering clients more support and opportunities. Very soon after admission, the Client Service Centre can be called upon to help clients to help themselves and develop their skills and acquire general knowledge, separate from their treatment program and hospital ward. In this way, the Client Service Centre tries to assist clients in their recovery process.

The complete article – written by Toon Walravens – about the Client Service Centre and ex-User Involvement can be read here.

Read More

Call for Short Term Scientific Missions 2016

4 STSM’s will be granted this period, the aims are related to the topics of the Working Groups:

1. To review the availability of longer stay units and their therapeutic regime in various participating countries. STSM Call 1 2016
2. To review the legal and health system bottlenecks in various participating countries that prevent individuals moving along their care pathway to less restrictive settings. STSM Call 2 2016
3. To collect demographic and clinical data (e.g. diagnosis, age, index offense), and to assess other more objective QoL variables that are related with the subjective experience of QoL such as daily activities, enclosure and/or leave. STSM Call 3 2016
4. To compare the needs as mentioned by patients with the needs assessed in standardized needs instruments such as the CANFOR. STSM Call 4 2016
  • Who? STSM applicants must be engaged in a research programme as a postgraduate student or postdoctoral fellow, or be employed by or affiliated to an institution or legal entity.
  • How? By obtaining a written agreement from the host institution, registering on e-cost and completing the online application form.
  • When? The submission deadline is 31/07/2016. The STSM must take place before the end of this Grant Period (March 2017).

For more detailed information on STSMs click here. For any other questions, you can contact the STSM coordinator Denise van Eeden (

Read More

Training School 2016 – Modern forensic in-patient facility design standards

What is the training school about?

Forensic psychiatric care is aimed at improving mental health and reducing the risk of recidivism of mentally disordered offenders, within the least restrictive setting possible and with a view to community reintegration, whilst simultaneously maintaining a secure treatment environment. However, the way the services are defined and governed across Europe differ significantly: some countries have issued detailed criteria for different levels of secure care, whereas in other countries security is much more loosely defined and has essentially developed over time along with clinical practices. Also, different historical factors have dictated that in some countries there are secure units that operate in densely populated urban areas, whereas in some countries forensic facilities have been placed further from the surrounding communities.

The rationale behind developing urban forensic services is that this can provide various forms of rehabilitative stimuli not as easily accessible in a more rural environment. However, issues concerning the safety of both the patients themselves and their environment merit particular planning in a more centrally placed location. Drugs, alcohol and antisocial interaction are all factors to take into consideration. A sensitive balance between providing care and security is vital for a well-functioning urban forensic service. Buildings must be used to facilitate the treatment model and care pathway, and to promote community engagement and recovery. Maintaining a high standard in building materials and continually improving the design of the environment will help to improve outcomes for patients. The building should help to ensure comfortable, secure surroundings for patients many of whom are detained for prolonged periods of time.


Read More

Timetable Training School 2016 – Modern forensic in-patient facility design standards

  Wed 21/09/2016 Thu 22/09/2016 Fri 23/09/2016
Time/Location Topeliuksenkatu 20, Cabinet Topeliuksenkatu 20, Ossian lecture room Topeliuksenkatu 20, Cabinet  
9.00-9.30 Welcome/introduction


(Allan Seppänen)

New hospitals and therapeutically safe enviroments


(Harry Kennedy)


What do patients expect of forensic facilities?



9.30-10.30 Introduction of COST IS1302, Introduction of participants, Organisational issues and Outcome expectations from the participants


(Allan Seppänen)

10.30-11.00 Coffee Break Coffee Break Coffee Break
11.00-12.00 What are the basic principles when designing a forensic treatment facility?


(Kennedy, Shaw, Seppänen)

Planning a new forensic unit at Helsinki University Hospital



Reflection, discussion and formulation of forensic facility design principles


(Kennedy, Shaw, Seppänen)


12.00-13.00 Lunch Lunch Lunch
13.00-14.30 “Bring and show’; presentations of the settings where trainees work or have been involved with: pros & cons


(Kennedy, Shaw, Seppänen)

Current international themes: medium secure mental health


(Christopher Shaw)

Presentations of basic principles of forensic facility design by Training School participants


(Kennedy, Shaw, Seppänen)

14.30-16.00 Integration of human rights and secure forensic care


(Jari Pirjola )

      Hope to finish by 15:00

Read More

Speaker List Training School 2016 – Modern forensic in-patient facility design standards

Harry Kennedy, BSc, MB, MD, FRCPI, FRCPsych Professor Kennedy is a consultant forensic psychiatrist and executive clinical director at the National Forensic Mental Health Service, Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum, Dublin, Ireland, and clinical professor of Forensic Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin. He established early prison in-reach and court diversion services in Pentonville and Holloway prisons London (1992-2000), Cloverhill and Mountjoy prisons Dublin (2000 onwards) and St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders, Dublin (2010). In 2014 a high intensity continuity and monitoring team commenced work across all Irish prisons.He has been involved in the reform and re-organisation of the Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum 2000 to present. A network of community high support step down places has been established along with in-reach and court diversion services to remand prisons and to St Patrick’s Institution until its closure. Currently he is establishing an in-reach team at the new Youth Justice facility in Oberstown, Co Dublin. This process of reform will include the opening of a new purpose built forensic hospital for Ireland in 2019.

Harry also teaches forensic psychiatry and publishes research on the epidemiology of homicide and suicide, therapeutically safe and secure pathways, neuroscience and violence, mental health law and human rights. Harry has been involved in the design, commissioning and transition to new forensic hospitals, twice in the last 20 years.

Christopher Shaw RIBA. Senior Director, Medical Architecture Founding director of architects and health planning consultancy Medical Architecture, London, UK, Christopher has a good understanding of design for healthcare. An articulate speaker and advocate of design quality, he is the chairman of UK group Architects for Health which promotes the good design for healthcare settings. His experience ranges from refurbishment of the smallest clinic to master planning large academic medical hospitals. He draws on experiential and well as evidence based design to develop beautiful healthcare buildings that are efficient, economic to build and adaptable to changing needs.

An experienced leader with over 25 years’ record of accomplishment, his work is underpinned by an ethos of research and innovation. He enjoys collaborative multi-disciplinary engagement with both clinical strategists and other stakeholders.

He has a particular expertise in planning settings for complex psychiatric care, cancer treatment and emergency medicine. From master-planning the large academic medical centres to small refurbishment projects, Christopher brings an approach to design that values improved clinical outcomes and enhances the human experience of treatment and care.

Christopher has been closely involved in the design of around 70 hospitals worldwide, recent projects include: Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford, Canada. National Forensic Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. The Heart Hospital, London, UK. Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK.

Allan Seppänen MD, PhD Dr. Seppänen works as clinical director at Helsinki University Hospital (HUH), Finland, Division of Psychoses and Forensic Psychiatry. His work involves assessing offenders for courts and supervising the treatment of both mentally ill offenders (forensic patients) and civil patients that have been referred to the forensic unit due to challenging behaviour, usually involving self-harm or violence. The patients treated in his unit at HUH are often triple- diagnosed with psychosis, personality disorder and substance abuse, and pose an immediate risk to the well-being of both themselves and others.

Dr. Seppänen holds a PhD in molecular neuroscience. His publications range from brain histology to mental health legislation. He has worked as a forensic psychiatric expert in Egypt and Kosovo and given workshop presentations in Finland, UK, Albania and Russia. He is Finland’s MC representative for COST Action IS1302: Towards an EU Research Framework on Forensic Psychiatric Care.

Also giving presentations will be:

Jari Pirjola, who is a Doctor of International Law and currently works as a Senior Legal Adviser in the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland. Dr Pirjola is a member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) in respect of Finland.   As a CPT member he regularly visits closed institutions in Council of Europe Member States to strengthen the human rights protection of persons deprived of their liberty.

Päivi Soininen, who received her PhD in Health Sciences from Turku University with her thesis Coercion, Perceived Care and Quality of Life among Patients in Psychiatric Hospitals. Dr Soininen has worked for nine years as Director of Nursing in Kellokoski Hospital in Forensic and Psychoses Department. She is an active researcher within Helsinki University Hospital and has formed international co-operation with Cognitive Adaptation Training and the Safewards– model, among others.

Raija Kontio, PhD in Health Sciences, works as project director of psychiatry at Helsinki University Hospital and as clinical teacher at Turku University. Her research areas are coercion in psychiatry, alternative methods to coercion and development of mental health services. She has participated in many international research and development projects, such as Safewards, European Commission projects ePsychNurse.Net (nurses’ vocational training in the management of aggressive inpatients) and REFINEMENT/CEPHOS LINK (Research on FINancial systems’ Effects on the quality on MENtal health care).

Read More

Restrictiveness in long-term forensic psychiatric care – report of a STSM in the Netherlands

Written by Jack Tomlin – PhD student at Nottingham University

This STSM was undertaken with the aim of developing over the coming years a tool to measure restrictiveness in (long-term) forensic psychiatric care. In December of 2015, I was fortunate enough to receive COST Action funding to undertake an STSM in the Netherlands and I welcomed gladly the opportunity to visit several Dutch forensic institutions and the Expertisecentrum Forensische Psychiatrie.

The ‘Dutch approach’ seems to have become quite en mode in discussions of forensic psychiatric care in the UK. I recently attended an end of project conference on Long-term forensic psychiatric care (LFPC) wherein comparisons of British and Dutch secure settings provoked fruitful discussion. Typically, the Dutch are seen as being less restrictive, more liberal and QoL-focused in their care approach than the British. This is evidenced most strongly in patients’ rights of sexual expression. In the UK, although not codified in any national policy, sexual relationships between patients are prohibited – in the Netherlands, this is not the case. Indeed, a week prior to my arrival in December, two individuals; one from a secure care ward in Nijmegen, another from the long-stay centre in Zeeland, wed in the latter’s chapel.


Read More

Practical information – MC & WG Meetings Barcelona

 Barcelona, how to get there?

The easiest way to get to Barcelona is by booking your flight to Barcelona Airport, also known as Barcelona-El Prat. The airport is located 16 kilometers south of the city. Barcelona can also be reached by public transport from other regional airports like Girona or Reus. However, from there you´ll have to travel by bus for approx. 1,5 hour to get to Barcelona.

The information below is about public transport between Barcelona Airport and Barcelona City Centre. In case you decide to book for one of the other airports and need any help on how to get to Barcelona, do not hesitate to contact us.

Terminals T1 and T2 (A, B and C):

The terminals at Barcelona Airport are organised in terms of carriers and not according to the destination or place of origin. Especially on your way back it is important to check from which Terminal your flight goes!

Connections between Barcelona and the airport and back:

Aerobús (A1 and A2)

The Aerobús is the most comfortable transport from Barcelona airport to the city centre and back. It has a daily service and leaves every 10 minutes. It takes approx. 35 minutes to get to Plaza de Catalunya, the very heart of the centre of Barcelona and the closest to the below listed hotels and venue. A return ticket costs approx €12. The bus numbers A1 or A2 correspond with the terminals of Barcelona Airport, respectively T1 and T2. For more information see also:

Metro (TMB)

The brand new metro line 9 – orange (inauguration expected for February 2016) will take you from Barcelona Airport to Zona Universitaria; here you can change to line 3 – green that will take you to the city centre: Plaza de Catalunya. For more information see also the TMB website:

Train (RENFE)

You can also travel to Barcelona centre per train, however from Terminal 1 you´ll have to take a shuttle that brings you to the train station (close to Terminal 2). Trains will take you to Sants station, from there you will have to switch to the metro (line 3 – green) to get to Plaza de Catalunya. For further information about the train:


Finally, there is the option to take a taxi. There are taxi ranks outside the main terminal exits. The journey to the city centre in taxi will take approx. 30 minutes. A taxi costs approx. € 25 – €30 and it is good to ask the driver before departure. Some of them have a closed tariff for airport rides. However, taxis can´t be reimbursed by COST (only when public transport is not available and before 7 am for an early departure and/or after 10 pm due to late arrival).


How to get around?

Metro (TMB)

Barcelona has a very comfortable and well functioning metro network, which serves most of the city. The metro is available on weekdays from Monday to Thursday, Sunday and public holidays (incl. April 23rd!) from 5 am – midnight; Friday and evenings before public holidays from 5 am – 2 am; Saturday: continuous service.


There are different types of travel cards and transport passes in Barcelona that are valid throughout the public transport network (metro, buses, tram and suburban rail), including the T-10 card which is valid for 10 journeys, or day passes (2, 3, 4 and 5 days) but these are a less economic option. The metro operates an integrated fare system enabling you to obtain a free transfer from one means of public transport to another within a period of 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Single ticket: € 2,15 / T-10 card: € 9,95


Finally, there is the option to take a taxi. There are many taxis circulating. A taxi is relatively cheap, but remember taxis can´t be reimbursed by COST.


How to get to the venue?

Imagen 2 BCN

The MC and WG meetings will be held at the Centre d’Estudis Jurídics i Formació Especialitzada (CEJFE) which is located at Carrer Ausiàs Marc, 40.

The nearest metro stations are Urquinaona (Red Line – 1 & Yellow Line – 4), Arc de Triomf (Red Line – 1) or Plaça de Catalunya (Red Line – 1 & Green Line – 3).


Where to sleep?

Although we did our utmost to arrange a good deal with some of hotels close to the venue, we unfortunately didn´t succeed. We therefore can only suggest one of the hotels listed below. We did our best to select the cheapest hotels close to the venue. Please note that the hotels are sorted on distance to the venue and NOT on best prices.

Please be aware that 23rd of April is a local holiday (St. Jordi) and that hotels might be fully booked. So please, make your reservations on time!


In case you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Local Organizers: 

Read More

STSM – Training of professionals in forensic systems under renovation

Written by Luca Castelletti (Medical Director, REMS Carlo Poma Mantova, Italy)

The whole Italian forensic sector is undergoing a radical process of renovation, as since 1st of april 2015 the 6 national forensic hospital have been closed down and are going to be replaced by small regional 20 bedded-units named REMS standing for Residencies for the Application of  Security Measures. As the process is delegated to the 20 regional health systems, the institution of the residencies is at different speed of building up. In our contest, in the Lombardy region, with a catchment area of around 10 milion people including Milan area, the project is to refurbish and renovate the “old” Ospedale Psichiatrico Giudiziario (OPGs) into a system of 6 REMS for a total of 120 beds. In the regional and central political plans it’s going to be the main forensic centre serving the Country. At the moment we host around 180 patients, of whom 45 are women, as we supply the momentary lack of ready residencies of some other regions.


Read More

Ward climate and (long term) forensic care

(How and why) should ward climate differ between forensic facilities?

Written by Meike de Vries, Researcher: Pompestichting, The Netherlands

Ward climate is an important factor within the treatment of inpatients in secure settings. Ward climate can be seen as a multifactorial construct including the material, social, and emotional conditions of a given ward and the interaction between these factors (Moos, 1989). In several studies, climate is found to play a role in therapeutic outcomes and regarded as an aspect of program responsivity that enhances treatment effects. Within high secure forensic hospitals establishing and maintaining an optimal climate is an important, but also a very challenging task due to the complex patient population and setting which incorporates both therapeutic- and security goals.


Read More