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Forensic psychologists play a critical role in the assessment of offenders and the provision of support and training for other staff. They also work with victims. Research is a further element of their work, as is presenting evidence in court and advising parole boards and mental health tribunals.
Using expertise based on psychological theory and research, forensic psychologists work closely with other professionals and agencies both in the assessment and treatment of individuals and in the development of institutional policy and working practices.
Most forensic psychologists work within the Prison Service, although they are also employed in a range of other settings, including probation services, the National Health Service (NHS) and private hospitals, the police, social services and higher education institutions.
Forensic psychology is often perceived as concerning criminal investigation and profiling. Although this is one very minor aspect of forensic psychology, it is not a core role. The work of forensic psychologists mainly relates to the assessment and treatment of criminal behaviour. Forensic psychologists work not only with prisoners and offenders but also with other professionals involved in the judicial and penal systems, and with victims of crime.
The core part of working with offenders focuses on therapy in forensic settings where tasks typically involve:
Forensic psychologists may also be involved in:
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