T : +353 1 214 56 34 | F : +353 1 663 97 35 | E : firstname.lastname@example.org
Clients are referred to Forensic Psychological Services through a number of different avenues, i.e. courts, solicitors, G.P.’s, HSE/TUSLA, religious bodies, private service providers or family. Clients may also self refer to the service.
In all cases we would ask that the referral agent send a letter of referral into the service highlighting the referral issue, client contact details, pertinent background information, whether the case is before the courts and whether a report is required for the court. If the case is before the court and a report is required please ensure that the court date for which the report is required is also indicated in the referral letter. Please also include documentation relevant to the case, e.g. Book of Evidence, other professional's reports, social work reports, etc.
If the client is referred by a solicitor, is funded by legal aid and requires a report for court, the cost of the report is often times covered by legal aid. The client’s solicitor will need to apply for funding in this regard prior to the commencement of the assessment. Quotes are available from Zuzana by email or calling 01 2145634.
If referred by the HSE/TUSLA for assessment, the cost of the assessment is most often covered by the HSE/TUSLA.
Clients who self-refer or who are not funded by either Legal Aid, the HSE, or another organisation will be required to cover the cost of the assessment themselves.
Please note that reports need to be paid for fully prior to being released.
In most cases clients will have to cover the cost of therapy themselves. In some cases where there is expressed concern regarding a person’s level of risk, the client may be funded or part funded by an outside agency to attend therapy. In some cases we may offer a sliding scale fee to persons on a low income.
Assessment or psychotherapy is not typically covered by a medical card or VHI.
If clients are not able to attend our offices in Dun Laoghaire or Kilkenny, we
can travel to see clients in their local area. However this will incur additional
costs to cover travel expenses. We also see clients in prison.
Clients we see include (among others):
Adults and Adolescents who have been accused of committing a criminal offense
Adults who have allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse
Victims of sexual abuse, bullying, harrassment, unfair treatment by employers, etc.
Parents involved in care proceedings as a result of abuse/neglect/deprivation.
Children and adolescents who present with challenging or inappropriate sexual behaviour
Cognitively impaired clients who present with challenging or inappropriate sexual behaviour
People from different ethnic backgrounds requiring psychological assessment
People involved in the criminal justice system who require court reports
Members of the clergy
While the service is confidential, there are limits to an individual’s
confidentiality. In this regard if a client’s psychologist believes that there is a
genuine risk of harm to others or the client themselves, confidentiality will be
broken to ensure the safety of others and the client. The decision to break
confidentiality is negotiated with the clients consent.
Should a client disclose the sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect of a child
that is currently in their care or that they have unsupervised access to, this
information will need to be reported to the relevant authorities. In these cases,
Forensic Psychological Services will assist the client in reporting to the
relevant authorities. For more detailed information, please see our Forensic
Informed Consent Agreement
Typically a therapy session lasts for 50 min.
Sessions for assessments generally last for one hour, however the length of a session will vary according to the urgency of the assessment. In this regard, if a report is needed urgently or if clients have travelled a substantial distance arrangements may be made to see clients for two hour session or a half/full day.
Depending on the needs of the client, psychotherapy sessions take place on a weekly or fortnightly basis. However the frequency of the sessions can be altered to suit the needs of each client.
The first session with the client serves as an introduction to the service. Your Psychologist or Psychotherapist will outline the process of the assessment or therapy, what is expected of you and answer your questions. Often times your psychologist or psychotherapist will ask you to fill in a number of questionnaires, detailing some of your personal information. Issues regarding confidentiality will also be addressed at this session.
One of the many areas in which practising Clinical or Forensic psychologists are asked to contribute is when they are tasked with providing an assessment of the level of risk a parent or person alleged to have perpetrated sexual abuse may pose to a child. Typically such risk assessments occur in child custody issues and in situations where children have been placed in care by the HSE. Removal of the child from the family or the issuing of care orders is often due to suspected child abuse or neglect or because the parent cannot cope with the child. In these situations, a Risk Assessment/Parenting Capacity may be commissioned.
In the case of parents, the psychologist is often asked to provide information about the parents' psychological ability to care for their children in terms of their level of intellectual functioning and the personality characteristics of the parent and how they may impact on the parents' ability to provide stable, empathic and effective care to their child. In the case of suspected abuse, the psychologist is asked to provide an opinion on the client’s level of risk for committing further acts of abuse. In these cases in addition to interviewing the parents, the psychologist will request attendance at supervised access between the parent and child as well as a separate observation session with the parent and child.
In the case of people who have been accused, convicted or admit to perpetrating sexual abuse, the psychologist is asked to provide an opinion on the likelihood of re-offence in the future. This is informed by the clients current lifestyle, personality factors, mental health including drug and alcohol abuse, intellectual ability and prior history of offending.
Similarly clients facing criminal charges for violent offences may also require an assessment of risk for re-offence in the future. This is informed by the clients current lifestyle, personality factors, mental health history, including drug and alcohol abuse, circumstances surrounding the index offence, intellectual ability and prior history of offending.
In all circumstances a report is generated and a number of recommendations are made to the court, HSE or other referral agent.
In the majority of cases all clients will receive feedback on the contents of the report before it is issued to the referral agent.
All clients are entitled to a copy of the report if so requested.
In non-professional circles, there is often confusion in distinguishing between Psychiatrists and Psychologists. Psychologists differ from Psychiatrists in a number of primary areas. The first is that a Psychiatrist is an individual who has gone through medical school and then focuses on mental illness and is licensed to dispense medication. A Psychologist, in comparison, does not hold a medical degree but has studied Psychology and is qualified to offer an opinion on psychological disorders and other personality disorders. The undergraduate degree, the graduate Masters degree and the post-graduate Doctorate degrees are all in Psychology.
All the Psychologists within Forensic Psychological Services have met the requirements for membership and registration with the Psychological Society of Ireland. Psychotherapists in the service have similarly met the requirements for membership and registration with their professional bodies. In the event a client is seen by a trainee Psychologist, all work is supervised by a senior member of staff.
At present we consist of a team of six psychologists (Clinical, Forensic and Counselling), two psychotherapists, and one assistant psychologist
A member of the team is assigned to each case with careful consideration being given to the complexity of the assessment or type of therapy required along with the individual needs of the client.
When we receive an initial enquiry, we can give a reliable and realistic start date, most often within two weeks of receiving the referral. Under most circumstances a Psychological and Risk Assessment report will take approximately 12 weeks to complete. We can on occasion meet shorter deadlines if the case is urgent, but current workloads and Court commitments prevail.
The timescale for therapy is based on the individual needs of the client. Typically clients remain in therapy for approximately two to three years.