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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 61 (2019) 3, 200 - 204


Development of a forensic psychiatric curriculum in Belgium and the Netherlands

K. Goethals, S. Roza

background Forensic psychiatry attracts considerable attention from media and politicians. All psychiatrists, not only those working in the forensic field, should be able to evaluate safety for society on the one hand and qualitative health care for psychiatric patients on the other. However, little attention is paid to specific forensic issues, in both psychiatric training and in medical school.
aim To map relevant topics for a forensic psychiatric curriculum in medical schools and psychiatric residency training.
method The main findings regarding educational topics in forensic psychiatry are discussed based on policy papers and scientific articles.
results Four important topics should be covered in general psychiatric training, i.e. mental health legislation, risk assessment and management, professionalism and ethics, and expert witness training. The Netherlands has a specific training programme for psychiatrists interested in expert report writing and testimony for criminal courts. In Belgium, psychiatrists can acquire specific professional competence in forensic psychiatry.
conclusion Acknowledgement of the above-mentioned topics in the general medical and psychiatric curriculum will lead to better knowledge and competencies for all psychiatrists, both in Belgium and the Netherlands. Continuing attention and evaluation will be necessary given the high societal relevance.

keywords forensic psychiatry, medical curriculum, psychiatric residency