The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


Traditionally mentally disordered offenders engender high levels of anxiety and therapeutic pessimism amongst mental health professionals. This course provides students the opportunity to develop knowledge and enhance their skills to work effectively with this population. Commencing from a broader perspective of Crime and Health, students will explore the policy and legal context in which their practice with this clientele occurs and examine the systems issues, and clinical and interpersonal issues specific to forensic mental health.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Trimester 1 - 2020.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify the psychosocial determinants of people with complex and difficult behaviour in the psychiatric and criminal justice systems and the impact of crime on health

2. Demonstrate familiarity with current legislation in regard to forensic patients and mentally disordered offenders under the Mental Health Act and the practical application of this legislation at a systems level

3. Discuss the process of effective assessment and engagement of mentally disordered offenders in a range of settings including prison, community and forensic hospitals

4. Appraise current tools and strategies to assess and better manage risk of potential violence of mentally disordered offenders towards others

5. Reflect on personal values and attitudes arising when working with people whose behaviour and presentation is challenging and confronting and identify and resolve ethical dilemmas specifically arising with mentally disordered offenders

6. Examine and evaluate issues related to cultural safety and vulnerable populations (such as Indigenous Australians) relevant to the delivery of care in forensic settings

7. Critically examine current and developing theories (and related research) of personality development, psychopathy, ASPD and BPD and future directions in the provision of forensic mental health services


  1. Historical perspectives, impact of crime on health and current policy and legal context
  2. Systems issues and ethical issues in forensic mental health
  3. Clinical and interpersonal issues specific to forensic mental health
  4. Evidence based treatment interventions and future directions

Assumed knowledge

Foundations of health professional knowledge, legal and ethical issues, fundamentals of research, human bioscience, psychology, sociology related to practice. Principles of investigative approaches in health care, concepts and theories relevant to practice, contemporary health care issues. Academic reading and writing skills, ability to access and evaluate information from a variety of sources, skills in critical analysis, critical judgment, synthesis and evaluation. Ability to conceptualise practice.

Assessment items

Online Learning Activity: Online Discussion and Participation in 3 Blogs *

Journal: On-line Journal *

Presentation: Power Point Presentation *

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Presentation: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
  • Journal: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
  • Online Learning Activity: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.