Annual Conference – Innovation and New Developments in Forensic Psychiatry

“Innovation and New Developments in Forensic Psychiatry”

will be the theme of the third Annual Conference of the COST Action IS1302

and will be organised in cooperation with USL Centro Toscana in Florence, Italy.


The first confirmed key note speakers are:

Prof. Dr. Robbert-Jan Verkes, MD, PhD, Radboud University Nijmegen (NL)

Dr. Angelo Fioritti, Director of the Department of Mental Health Bologna (IT)

Mr. Mark Kelly, Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission (IHREC) and Committee for Prevention of Torture (CPT) (IE)

Prof. Dr. Birgit Völlm, MD, PhD, University of Nottingham (UK)

Mr. Toon Walravens, De Woenselse Poort (NL)

Ms. Ellen Vorstenbosch (MSc), Sant Joan de Deu Foundation (ES)


FlorencePhoto credit: Ghost of Kuji via Remodel / CC BY


Also, the following working groups will present their latest achievements:

“Determination of Patient Characteristics” – Prof. Dr. Harry Kennedy, University of Dublin (IE)
“Towards Best Practice in Long-term Forensic Psychiatric Care” – Dr. Vivek Furtado, University of Warwick (UK)
“Meeting Patient Needs and Optimizing Quality of Life” – Ms. Gemma Escuder-Romeva, Sant Joan de Deu Hospital (ES)
“Recent EU Developments on Patient and Caregiver/Family Involvement” – Prof. Dr. Franco Scarpa (IT)


The complete program and information about the venue can be found here.

To register please send an email to:

Registration deadline is October, 20th 2016

Please note that your registration is not official till you received a confirmation of the organisers.


Read More

A STSM comparing patients and services in long term forensic psychiatry in Germany (Vitos-Haina) & Ireland (Dundrum, Dublin).

Written by Padraic O’ Flynn (Senior Occupational Therapist, Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum, Ireland).  

This short term scientific mission explored two forensic psychiatric services in Ireland (Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum, NFMHS) and Germany (Vitos Haina) which cater for long term forensic psychiatric patients. The completed report detailed the overall model and design of the two services, the patient characteristics (diagnosis, average length of stay, index offence, “step”, nationality, IQ)  on long stay wards,  procedures in both services for identifying patient need for psychosocial treatment, comparisons of what psychosocial interventions are offered on long stay units/ with long stay patients, and finally comparisons on quality of life from self reported measures on long stay wards in Ireland and Germany. The report also detailed recommendations for future research in this area. Below the points from the main report are summarised with graphs and diagrams included. Further exploration of comparisons of descriptive characteristics, service models etc. are available in the full report.


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Training School 2015 – Long Stay in Forensic Psychiatric Services

What is the programme like?

The programme involves lectures, videos, discussions, debates and field visits in small groups. The speakers are international experts in the field of forensic psychiatry and mental health and bring with them a wealth of experience ( speakers list). The training school will cover best practice in long stay forensic psychiatric care as well as EU issues in forensic psychiatry.

Participants will have the opportunity to visit all three levels of security in forensic psychiatric care in the United Kingdom – high, medium and low and availability of such visits is very rare. It is an excellent opportunity to gain insight into what is happening on the ground. You will need to bring along two pieces of ID with you during each of these visits.

Please find here a time-table for the 3 day programme.

English will be the official language of the training school although some of the speakers speak other European languages.



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Quality of life according to Dutch Long-term Forensic Psychiatric Patients

Written by Ellen Vorstenbosch,
former researcher of the Pompefoundation, the Netherlands

Over the last decade, the duration of treatment in Dutch clinical forensic psychiatric facilities has increased considerably, leading to an average duration of over nine years. Furthermore, there is a growing group of forensic psychiatric patients who have insufficiently benefited from the offered treatment methods and who are still deemed to pose a high risk for society (De Kogel, Verwers, & den Hartogh, 2005; Dienst Justitiële Inrichting, 2009; Expertisecentrum Forensische Psychiatrie, 2009; see also Salize & Dressing, 2007). A significant proportion of these patients may require long-term, potentially life-long, forensic psychiatric care (Reed, 1997; Harty et al., 2004). In the Netherlands, a patient’s main therapist can advise upon placement in a long-term forensic psychiatric facility if the risk of recidivism did not diminish sufficiently after two serious treatment attempts in two different forensic psychiatric hospitals. Subsequently, an independent committee of multi-disciplinary experts decides if placement in a long-term forensic psychiatric facility is considered adequate. Of the total Dutch forensic psychiatric population, about 10% currently resides in a specialized long-term forensic psychiatric care (LFPC) ward.

Typical for long-term forensic psychiatric patients is a complex psychopathology, non-compliance in therapy and/or poor learning abilities. Instead of treatment aimed towards re-entry into society, the main goal of long-term forensic psychiatry is to offer care in accordance with the rehabilitation principles. In LFPC, these principles entail psychiatric and medical care, acceptance of stay, and optimising quality of life (QoL) within acceptable boundaries for society. The emphasis no longer lays on risk-reduction and therefore on treatment of dynamic risk factors, but on QoL-enhancement. In every day clinical care, there is a need for practical guidance to achieve this.


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Characteristics and needs of long-stay patients in high and medium secure forensic-psychiatric care: Implications for service organization

Written by Prof. Birgit Völlm,
Clinical Professor and Readerin Forensic Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Nottingham


This report summarises the research progress we have made on ‘Characteristics and needs of long-stay patients in high and medium secure forensic-psychiatric care: Implications for service organisation’. The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) UK has funded this 3-year study, which we are two thirds through, as of the recent quarterly meeting – the ‘Project Management Group and Service User Reference Group meeting’ – which took place in mid-January.


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