Consumers accessing forensic mental health care often display co-occurring mental illness, problematic substance use, personality dysfunction, and social and cognitive disability that increases the likelihood of violent or offending behaviour. Specialist environments, systems and interventions are needed in prison, hospital and community settings to maintain safety while therapeutically treating the cause of offending.  

Our research examines how mental illness and responsivity factors (such as cognitive impairment, personality dysfunction and trauma) influence offending and how interventions (environments, risk prediction instruments and therapy) and workforce development models in forensic mental health settings can maximise safety, recovery and reduced offending. 

To achieve our aims, we are currently conducting work that: 

  • Measures how mental illness and co-occurring disorder or disability impacts offending and care engagement 
  • Strengthens the forensic mental health workforce 
  • Uses Quality Improvement methods to embed evidence-based practice or improve care 
  • Builds evidence-based recovery-oriented practice in forensic mental health.  

Key projects in this area include data linkage studies exploring the rate of offending and violence among people with mental illness, and investigating suitable methods to assess, intervene, enhance treatment settings and tailor interventions to reduce offending and assist personal recovery. 

Our research in the area of forensic mental health benefits from our strong partnership with the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health (Forensicare). We serve as the research arm of Forensicare, conducting independent research and facilitating their research enterprises. This research program ensures that high quality research is undertaken to better inform clinical practice in the provision of public mental health services.  

Current and recent projects 

  • Developing Safewards Secure: Adaptation of the Safewards model for forensic mental health settings 
  • The evaluation of the Reflective Practice Program at Thomas Embling Hospital 
  • Evaluation of the Forensic Mental Health Service at Ravenhall Correctional Centre 
  • The rates of re-admission to a Forensic Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and characteristics of returning patients. 

Research stream leaders 

Recent publications 

Darjee, R., Øfstegaard, M., & Thomson, L. (2017). Schizophrenia in a high-security hospital: long-term forensic, clinical, administrative and social outcomes. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 28(4), 525-547. doi:10.1080/14789949.2017.1308537 

Hachtel, H., Harries, C., Luebbers, S. & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2018).  Violent offending in schizophrenia spectrum disorders preceding and following diagnosis.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 52, 8, 782-792. DOI: 10.1177/0004867418763103 

Mastromanno, B. Brookstein, D. M., Ogloff, J. R. P., Campbell, R., Chu, C. M. & Daffern, M. (2018). Assessing change in dynamic risk factors in forensic psychiatric inpatients: Relationship with psychopathy and recidivism.  Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 29, 2, 323 – 336. DOI: 10.1080/14789949.2017.1377277 

Maguire, T., Ryan, J., Fullam, R., & McKenna, B. (2018). Evaluating the introduction of the Safewards model to a medium- to long-term forensic mental health ward. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 14(4), 214-222. doi:10.1097/jfn.0000000000000215 

McKenna, B., McEvedy, S., Maguire, T., Ryan, J., & Furness, T. (2017). Prolonged use of seclusion and mechanical restraint in mental health services: A state-wide retrospective cohort study. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 26(5), 491-499. doi:10.1111/inm.12383 

Papalia, N., Spivak, B., Daffern, M., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2019). A meta‐analytic review of the efficacy of psychological treatments for violent offenders in correctional and forensic mental health settings. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 26(2). doi:10.1111/cpsp.12282 

Shepherd, S. M., Campbell, R. E., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2017). The Utility of the HCR–20 in an Australian Sample of Forensic Psychiatric Patients. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 1-10. doi:10.1080/13218719.2017.1364676 

Thomas, S. D. M., Daffern, M., Nixon, M., & Ogloff, J. (2019). Crime and victimisation among people with intellectual disability with and without comorbid mental disorder. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 32(5), 1088-1095 

Explore our other research programs

Contact the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science

There are many ways to engage with us. Whether you’re a student, from the media or an organisation interested in our professional development and training programs or consulting services, contact us on +61 3 9214 3887 or via

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