Specialist Training in Forensic Psychiatry in Europe
This paper explores the training of specialists in forensic psychiatry in Europe. In Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, forensic psychiatry is a recognised medical specialty, and each has a recognised training programme for developing knowledge and relevant competencies; satisfactory completion results in issue of a certificate of completed clinical training (CCT). Ireland and Belgium offer some recognised specialist practice training, while other countries, like Austria, the Netherlands and Spain, make courses available to improve the quality of forensic assessments or the management of mentally disturbed offenders. Since the turn of the millennium, there have been increasing efforts to develop a mutual understanding of forensic psychiatry between the countries of the European Union (EU). The Ghent Group promotes mutually informed developments in training. Since its first meeting in 2004 in Ghent, Belgium, it has held annual conferences. Since 2010, in collaboration with the universities of Munich, Cardiff and Antwerp and the Max Planck Institute for International Criminal Law, and with support from Danish forensic psychiatrists, the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists and Bildungswerk Irsee in Bavaria (Germany), it has run a 4-day seminar, bringing together trainees and consultants from European countries. Participants not only learn about other systems but also improve their understanding of their own legal system, by having to explain it to other participants. International training in Europe seems to provide an increasing advantage, not only for informing practice and service development but also for interpreting research data from each other’s countries and promoting research collaborations.
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