January 2000

No 14

Photocall - February 1 at 11.00 am

The management of mentally disordered offenders within the National Health System is a matter of public controversy. Several well publicised cases (some of which have occurred in Leicester) where untoward events have occurred despite the best efforts of the professionals involved, have focused attention in this area as never before.

Now a new centre is being unveiled at the University of Leicester which seeks to divest these issues of emotion and to present the facts.

The Division of Forensic Mental Health will be formally opened on Tuesday February 1 by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Professor Robert Burgess.

The Division was formed when Professor Conor Duggan was appointed to the foundation Chair in January 1998. It has gradually grown with the appointment of a lecturer, research associate and support staff. A Senior Lecturer is also to be appointed.

The Division is located at the East Midlands Centre for Forensic Mental Health, one of two Regional Secure Units in Trent. The Medical staff provides a clinical service to this unit. Specifically, the professorial staff have been involved in setting up a treatment unit for men with severe personality disorder - a unique facility within medium security.

Professor Duggan said: "The field of forensic mental health gives rise to many issues that overlap with areas beyond medicine. These include the disciplines of psychology, ethics, criminology, child and adolescent development, all of which have an important contribution to make to this debate.

"Hence, the fostering of these links with other disciplines is seen as a key function of this new Division. The contribution from an academic unit is especially important, as many of the debates in this area (e.g. the rights of detained individuals versus the rights of society at large) are highly emotive so that a cool appraisal is often lacking.

"One of the contributions of an academic unit is to rely on, and produce, facts - rather than opinion - as well as developing a more sophisticated approach to difficult issues. Training is seen as crucial and the training of various disciplines is seen as an important function of the new Division.The Division has also been successful in developing collaborative links with other Universities including Nottingham, Sheffield, Oxford and the Institute of Psychiatry in London."

NOTE TO NEWS DESKS: The opening takes place on Tuesday 1st February at 11 am. If you require any further information please ring 0116 225 6060.

The Division of Forensic Mental Health is located at Arnold Lodge, Cordelia Close, Leicester LE5 0LE.

[Leicester University] [*] Administration [*] Press & Publications
Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: 27 January 2000 16:23
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