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Evaluation of two community outreach forensic psychological services

Max Ward (Specialist Clinical Psychologist, based at Forensic Psychological Therapies Team, Bracton Centre Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)
Pamela Attwell (Chartered Specialist Clinical Psychologist, based at Forensic Psychological Therapies Team, Bracton Centre Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)

The Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 2050-8794

Publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gauge service user’ perspectives on the effectiveness of two community outreach forensic psychological services in London for people with personality disorder and serious mental illness who pose a risk of sexual and violent offending. Both services are guided by principles of the Good Lives Model and circles of support and accountability.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design was mixed qualitative and quantitative, incorporating thematic evaluation of semi-structured interviews with service users and a rating-scale constructed specifically for this purpose.

Findings

Outcomes suggest both services are broadly successful in achieving their aims to: first, enhance psychological well-being and general quality of life; second, promote links with other agencies and broader social inclusion; and third, monitor and manage risk of re-offending.

Research limitations/implications

However, there are limitations. Cause and effect cannot be inferred and outcomes are not generalizable to other contexts partly as a result of the small sample size. Another possible issue is that participants spoke favorably about their care through fear of being evaluated negatively or through fear of compromising the support they receive. To control for these and other possible confounding variables, further more rigorous research is required.

Practical implications

The current findings can be used as a guide to help services engage and manage people with personality disorder and serious mental illness who are at risk of further serious offending.

Originality/value

It is suggested here that the current findings contribute to the body of evidence supporting initiatives that aim to address recidivism by enabling offenders to develop a more positive identity through social and community inclusion and integration.

Keywords

Citation

Ward, M. and Attwell, P. (2014), "Evaluation of two community outreach forensic psychological services", The Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 312-326. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-04-2013-0027

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited