SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMC824275
Module Leader Josie Williams
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

It is increasingly emphasised that recognising, and effectively addressing the multiple vulnerabilities of client groups within forensic settings is crucial to positive outcomes. The aim of this module is threefold: to build students' understanding of the complex psychological and social needs presented by vulnerable offenders and their victims; to highlight the organisational and systemic challenges faced when working with vulnerable groups; and, to explore what might constitute good practice when addressing these challenges as forensic psychologists. The module provides students with both theoretical underpinning and case study-based practical application.


-360b7 The vulnerabilities and needs of client groups involved in the criminal justice system e.g. -360 o at-risk and high risk children and young people o children of offenders o female offenders and ex-offenders o offenders with mental health problems and learning disabilities o victim/survivors of crime -360b7 Challenges of working with vulnerable groups in forensic settings including: -360 o Inequalities o Engagement and experience issues o Organisational and systemic issues o Ethical issues -360b7 Best practice and future directions including: -360 o The implications of criminal justice policies and new legislation o Early intervention and diversion o The role of the forensic psychologist -359

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to: 1. Critically discuss in an empathic manner the complex needs of vulnerable groups, including: children and young people, female offenders, offenders with mental disorders, and victims/survivors of crime.2. Critically reflect upon and evaluate the impact of the social, health and inequalities experienced by vulnerable groups. 3. Critically evaluate organisational and systemic issues relevant to vulnerable groups as well as examples of best practice across a range of forensic settings and contexts.4. Discuss a range of complex legal and ethical issues and boundaries applicable to working with these vulnerable client groups and how these might inform professional practice. 5. Critically analyse the implications of government policy and the social and political context for the practice of forensic psychology with vulnerable groups.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

lectures with discussion Online and face to face workshops Directed independent and private study Written assessment

Indicative Reading

Students are referred to the following journals for information about current developments in the field: -360b7 British Journal of Forensic Practice b7 Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology b7 Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice b7 Violence, Abuse and Trauma Texts -360b7 Bond, T. (2015). Standards and Ethics for counselling in action. London: Sage b7 Corston J. (2007). The Corston Report : A Review of Women with Particular Vulnerabilities in the Criminal Justice System. London: Home Office b7 Erkisson, A. & Flyyn C. (2015). Children of Prisoners, Federation Press? b7 Goldstein, M. (2016) Handbook of Child Custody [electronic resource]. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing b7 Norbert, K. (2013). Ethical Issues in Prison Psychiatry [electronic resource]. Springer Netherlands b7 O'Donohue, William T. (2016). Forensic Interviews Regarding Child Sexual Abuse: A Guide to Evidence-Based Practice [electronic resource]: Switzerland: Springer International Publishing b7 Sheldon, K., Howells, K. & Davies, J. (Ed.). (2011) Research in Practice for Forensic Professionals. Routledge. b7 Vf6llm <> , B. & Nedopil <>, N. (Eds). The Use of Coercive Measures in Forensic Psychiatric Care: Legal, Ethical and Practical Challenges. [electronic resource] Switzerland: Springer International Publishing

Transferrable Skills

Transferable skills include: knowledge of effective working with different client groups, knowledge of legislation/policies/procedures applied to vulnerable groups, report writing, critical understandings of entrenched working practices in forensic settings, and understandings of organisational culture within different forensic settings.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 6.00
Tutorials (FT) 6.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Seminars (FT) 6.00
Independent Learning (FT) 100.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 0.00 100.00 50% Essay 3,000 words