During recent decades, there has been a substantial increase in admissions to forensic mental hospitals in several European countries. In particular, rising numbers of ‘‘difficult’’ patients end up in forensic psychiatric institutions. Forensic psychiatry is concerned with the treatment of mentally disordered people who have committed a criminal offence as a result of their disorder. The placement and treatment of mentally ill offenders is a challenge for both judicial systems and mental health care systems all over the world, to protect the rights of patients and, at the same time, providing adequate medical care and guarantee an adequate protection of the public from any potential risks.
There is evidence of an increasingly inadequate provision of comprehensive care for ‘‘difficult’’ but not extremely dangerous psychotic patients living in the community. This situation, which can be observed in nearly all European countries, raises concerns with regard to efforts to destigmatize both patients and psychiatry.
The 19th Congress of the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), Section of Epidemiology and Social Psychiatry, in Wien (Austria) on April 4-7, 2018, will be an ideal place to face this challenge across different legal frameworks, models of care and treatment standards. Psychiatric epidemiology is the basis for getting knowledge on disease burden and aetiology, prevention, mental health service and treatment planning. The EU-VIORMED study (EUropean Study on VIOlence Risk and MEntal Disorders) aims will be presented within this framework, in terms of design of a new mapping of forensic psychiatry in different EU-Member States. The key question the symposium will try to address involves whether there is a correlation between mental disorders and the risk of violence? New perspectives and knowledge on essential indicators as the capacity of forensic psychiatry, the interaction with general psychiatry and the penal systems or the various national pathways into forensic psychiatric care are expected to be discussed.