The Ghent Group is an informal group of European forensic psychiatrists interested and experienced in training in the field. It is named after their first meeting in Ghent, Belgium, in 2004 and focuses on the commonalities and differences in training in different European countries.
Forensic psychiatry at first glance seems to differ from one country to another due to different historical developments, legal and mental health care systems. In spite of that, forensic psychiatry shares common goals across countries, e.g.:
- working effectively at the interface of law and psychiatry
- giving evidence to courts
- providing treatment for mentally disordered offenders
- working towards improving living conditions of mentally disordered offenders.
Forensic psychiatrists have to work closely with general psychiatrists to achieve these goals. Typically those presenting with offending behaviour, including violence, have a long history of involvement with psychiatric services before they present to forensic services. In working with other clinical and non-clinical professionals opportunities therefore arise to:
- prevent individuals with mentally disorders from becoming offenders
- prevent further victims of crime
- intervene in the vicious circle from victim to perpetrator
- identify young people at risk for antisocial behaviour and intervene in the trajectory from childhood conduct disorder to adult offending.