The forensic mental health system in the United Kingdom

Authored by: Lindsay Thomson

Handbook of Forensic Mental Health

Print publication date:  March  2008
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9781843922629
eBook ISBN: 9780203118276
Adobe ISBN: 9781136308802


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Contrary to the title of this chapter, there is not one system of forensic mental health within the United Kingdom, rather there are four reflecting the countries that make up the UK – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. To understand these systems it is necessary to have some knowledge of the geographical, socio-economic and political landscape of each country. Having set the scene, this chapter describes the system within each in terms of mental health policy, legislation, forensic mental health services within the National Health Service and the criminal justice system, and mechanisms to ensure public safety. Tables are used throughout to provide an at-a-glance comparison of the four systems. Detailed descriptions of specific components can be found in later chapters.

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