Adolescent forensic psychiatry

by Dr Heidi Hales and Dr Alexandra Lewis


Last updated: October 2015


Adolescent forensic psychiatry is a developing subspecialty that sits between adult forensic psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. There is a growing network of adolescent forensic psychiatrists working in specialist teams in the UK and an Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry Special Interest Group in the College. 

These are exciting times for those interested in adolescent forensic psychiatry: a network of five NHS adolescent forensic in-patient units in England has been successfully developed, and most Young Offenders Institutions/Young Persons' Prisons or local authority secure children's homes (LASCH) now receive specialist in-reach from CAMHS teams. 
In the UK, our subspeciality has largely developed its base in the NHS adolescent secure units. However, in addition to these NHS services, a number of independent low secure adolescent units have also been established. A recent CAMHS mapping exercise has highlighted the need for more community forensic adolescent teams as there is currently a relative paucity of this level of service.
We are passionate about our field of work and would like to encourage others to work, study and research in this area. By writing this module, we hope to better inform our colleagues about what adolescent forensic psychiatry is and to provide useful information on the services available in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry Special Interest Group in the Royal College of Psychiatry is active and open for all members/associates of the College to join, to share learning, expertise and give a voice for patients' needs.

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