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Arch Hellen Med, 35(1), January-February 2018, 120-128


Forensic social work

S. Martinaki,1 A. Papaioannou,1 Ch. Asimopoulos2
1First Psychiatric Clinic, "Eginitio" Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens,
2Department of Social Work, Athens University of Applied Sciences, Athens, Greece

The rise in the diagnosis of mental disorders, in combination with high crime rates and the increasing tendency of people to turn to the justice system to deal with complex issues, has resulted in the emergence of a body of mental health professionals who are trained in both legal science and psychiatric issues. A new, distinct field for social workers is the provision of social work services to people in the mental health system who have come into contact with the criminal justice system. Forensic psychiatric social work is the new area of expertise that has responded to these social and scientific needs, bridging the gap between criminal justice and mental health. Specialization in forensic social work is not yet offered in Greece, despite the need encountered in the everyday clinical practice of social workers in both the law courts and psychiatric services. Suggestions are presented here for creating a specialty training course, either in the schools of social work, or as part of a postgraduate program. Until recently, very little information had been presented in Greece on forensic psychiatry social work, but the need is becoming ever more urgent to equip social workers with skills in this field, in a practical and meaningful way.

Key words: Forensic mental health services, Forensic social work, Forensic specialization, Law.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine