Psychiatry in Forensic Contexts

FBS80014 12.5 Credit Points Hawthorn, Off-Campus, Online


  • One Semester or equivalent

Contact hours

  • 16 hours Weekend Workshop

On-campus unit delivery combines face-to-face and digital learning. For Online unit delivery, learning is conducted exclusively online.


All students must be enrolled as Psychiatric registrars, or be accredited as consultant psychiatrists

Aims and objectives

This unit provides students with the knowledge and skills required for effective, evidence based practice of psychiatry in forensic settings. Students will be able to assess and employ appropriate risk assessment, develop skills in providing expert testimony and written court reports, and contribute to evidence based decision making. The unit covers both civil and criminal justice systems, and the ethical issues of the practice of psychiatry within a legal framework. Each topic is investigated from the perspective of psychiatric practice, and also from the legal perspective, developing understanding of the complex and sometimes competing systems in which forensic psychiatrists practice.
Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:
1. Apply knowledge and skills of the forensic psychiatrist as expert witness
2. Effectively assist courts and tribunals and decision making bodies in dealing with matters where psychiatry is relevant
3. Examine the theoretical and historic basis of medico-legal constructs encountered in forensic psychiatry
4. Apply the evidence base to enhance effective and ethical practice of psychiatry in forensic settings