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Speech and language therapy within a forensic support service

Nicola McNamara (Based at the Forensic Support Service, Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Whalley, UK)

Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2042-0927

Article publication date: 8 June 2012



The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists recommend speech and language therapy intervention should be a key feature of approaches aimed at reducing re‐offending. This review seeks to analyse referrals received to speech and language therapy within a forensic support service (FSS) for adults with learning disabilities.


The review involved analysing data from the Forensic Support Service database for two six month periods (pre‐ and post‐introduction of the screen). Percentages of FSS cases referred to the speech and language therapist were analysed. Further data were gathered for service users not referred by asking their lead clinician to complete a retrospective communication screen. The screen also asked if the service user's communication difficulties were thought to be linked to their offending behaviour.


A high percentage (79/80 per cent) of service users referred to the FSS had communication difficulties. These communication difficulties are not always being identified. When completed, the screening tool aids identification of communication difficulties but the limited number of returned screens was a problem. Between 79 per cent and 84 per cent of those service users identified as having a communication difficulty, are thought to have offending behaviours linked to this.


The review informs managers and commissioners of similar services of the importance of speech and language therapy provision and also highlights the perceived link between communication difficulties and offending behaviour.



McNamara, N. (2012), "Speech and language therapy within a forensic support service", Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 111-117.



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