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Title: Community forensic mental health teams : a Northern Ireland perspective
Author: Mitchell, Carolyn Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 8772
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2015
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This is a study investigating, from the perspective of service users, the most effective treatment interventions for mentally-disordered offenders overseen by a community forensic mental health service (CFMHTs) in Northern Ireland. This study researches what works best with mentally-disordered offenders in the context of three psychological models in the field of offender rehabilitation, namely: McGuire’s (1995) ‘What Works’, Ward’s (2001) ‘Good Lives’, and Andrews and Bonta’s (1994) ‘Risk, Need, and Responsivity’ model. This study is unique in that the views of service users, that is, the patient, and the family of the patient, as well as professionals, were sought. Service user views were obtained through undertaking three separate studies involving qualitative and quantitative assessment. Study one involved focus groups with results evaluated by thematic analysis; study two involved administrating questionnaires developed from the focus groups to evaluate specific themes, whilst study three followed up specific issues with semi-structured interviews, the data again analysed by thematic analysis. In study one, service users identified ten key themes as important in the treatment and management of mentally-disordered offenders within the community. Study two explored the significance of the themes for the three service user groups. There were a number of significant differences between groups identified in study two in the areas of risk management and public perception and awareness. The differences are reflective of elements of the ‘Good Lives’ model, such as the importance of the therapeutic relationship. Study three undertook a more in-depth analysis of the questionnaire results, and endorsed the findings from studies one and two. Throughout the three studies the ten themes reinforced the importance of the ‘what works’ literature from the perspective of service users. The one theory, however, which services users appeared to endorse most strongly, is Tony Ward’s ‘Good Lives’ model and this is important for the future work of CFMHTs. The value placed by patients and families on the therapeutic relationship is one of the most significant findings to emerge from this research study and is reflective of the academic literature. The findings of each study have been discussed in relation to existing research in what works with mentally-disordered offenders. Recommendations for improvement in the treatment of this group are identified. The more important of these include: involving the patient’s family in their treatment and risk management; ensuring that a ‘step-down’ approach is adopted when patients move from security to community living; working to reduce stigma and Northern Irish cultural issues that adversely impact a patient’s rehabilitation, and the importance of a positive therapeutic relationship between professional, patient, and families. The research was limited by sample size and difficulty securing questionnaire responses from some professionals on time. Future research could increase the sample size by expanding numbers at a local level to other forensic teams in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, exploring re-offending data from the sample on a longitudinal basis would be informative. Overall, this study highlights the centrality of service users in determining what works best in the treatment and risk management of mentally-disordered offenders.
Supervisor: Edelmann, Robert ; Bray, Diane ; Worrell, Marcia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Thesis
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available