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2013-13: Contact between victim/next of kin and hospital order patients (Call 2013-13)

Target group

Victims (or their next of kin) of forensic psychiatric patients who have received a hospital order.

Contact between victim/next of kin and hospital order patients

Recent government policy aims to improve the position of victims of crime. In forensic care, the focus is mainly on the treatment of offenders, but involving victims and/or their families can be positive for both the offender and the victim. Clear guidelines for this have so far been lacking and will require a different approach from different types of victims. When the offender and victim are strangers, the victim's needs concerning contact can differ greatly. Relational bonds between offender and victim can, on the other hand, limit the parties’ options; this can be an additional challenge, to shape the commitment in a way that leads to the desired effects. In addition to the wishes of victims, other issues also play a role, such as the type of crime that was committed against them, cultural background, possible mental/physical limitations and the nature of the relationship with the offender (dependence, influence, dominance etc.). These characteristics are, of course, of great importance in deciding whether, and if so how, the victim or their next of kin can be involved in the treatment of an offender.

Application and effect

The study led to a set of guidelines for assessing whether and how the involvement of victims or next of kin in the treatment of forensic patients can be effective. This guide, which is intended for forensic network counsellors and practitioners, provides tools that provide both substantive (criteria, intended objectives) and procedural (how is this formulated in performance practice) support for the involvement of victims, taking into account their diversity of characteristics and wishes. The guide describes different scenarios and processes in a flow chart. An implementation study was started to finalise the guideline (see Call 2016-60) in the form of a pilot in four clinics. 

Executive party

FPC Van der Hoeven and FPC Dr. S. van Mesdag