Objectives & Benefits

The aim of the Action is to exchange, increase and deepen the knowledge on evidence based practice and (cost) effective services in long-term forensic psychiatry in Europe.
In order to achieve scientific progress leading to an improvement of evidence based treatment in long-term forensic psychiatric services, multiple disciplines work together on the following specific objectives:

  • Enhancing the current state of the art on long-term forensic psychiatric care by integrating previous and newly gained knowledge on a Europe-wide scale.
  • Facilitating cross-national exchange of ‘what works’ principles within long-term forensic psychiatric care for European practitioners, researchers and stake holders.
  • Accelerating (research) initiatives on the development of new and innovative treatment programs of (subgroups of) mentally disordered offenders.
  • Increasing the utility of knowledge in long-term forensic psychiatric practice by developing useful instruments for routinely assessment.
  • Advancing on a European standardization of current needs and quality of life within long-term forensic psychiatric care.
  • Contributing to a more informed debate about the ethical challenges associated with decision- and policymaking in long-term forensic psychiatric care.
  • Building research capacity regarding (long-term) forensic psychiatric care in Europe, with special attention for engagement of (young) Early Stage Researchers.

The outcomes of the Action will be translated into evidence-based (cost) effective treatment programs for long-term forensic psychiatric patients, and will be of considerable value to policy makers (cost effectiveness), managers (standards of quality), clinicians (effective interventions), patients (optimum quality of life) and prisoners (prevention of mental health problems). Besides there are some specific benefits:

  • Economic benefits (cost effectiveness, standards for quality and effective interventions): by gathering insight into the characteristics of patients, subgroups can be distinguished and treatment programs and care provision can be further improved. Residence in high secure services is much more expensive than medium or low secure care. Hence, unnecessary stay in high secure services entails a great deal of unnecessary expenses for society. Improved treatment programs and care provision will result in cost reduction for society (varying from 10 to 15%).
  • Societal benefits (effective interventions, higher quality of life and prevention of mental health problems): patients benefit from services that meet their needs in the least restrictive environment. Improved knowledge of their needs will enable professionals to support patients in enhancing their quality of life. Increased knowledge on treatability (based on the characteristics of responders and non-responders to treatment) will benefit the development of new interventions from which patients might profit in the future. This knowledge can also be used for optimizing the treatment pathways in forensic services and prevention in penal institutions. A better fit between patients’ needs and treatment will lead to lowering the risk of recidivism upon return in society, which also has an economic impact.
  • Scientific benefits: at this moment there is a very limited number of (empirical) studies related to characteristics of long-term forensic psychiatric care patients and their treatment This is partly caused by the fact that the term long-term forensic psychiatric care is kind of arbitrary. The Action will lead to an European agreement on definitions, conceptualizations and a grounded theory about core topics of long-term forensic psychiatric care. The obtained results will be translated into innovative interventions, advanced treatment programs and new assessment instruments, and will therefore give an incentive for further scientific research in this field. In addition, the expected scientific impact will lead to a growing body of research and more European publications on forensic psychiatry, thus strengthening the EUs ambitions of leading a more humane perspective in global forensic psychiatry.