Ethical Issues in Forensic Mental Health Research

Ethical Issues in Forensic Mental Health Research

Ethical Issues in Forensic Mental Health Research

Ethical Issues in Forensic Mental Health Research

Synopsis

A contemporary case-based discussion of ethical dilemmas faced by researchers in forensic mental health, this book offers useful guidance to anyone planning research in this field. It focuses on problems frequently encountered, such as issues of capaacity to consent in forensic settings.

Excerpt

This book is based on a series of seminars run by the National Programme for Forensic Mental Health. Over two years, a group of researchers awarded Robert Baxter Fellowships (Baxter Fellows) met monthly to discuss the ethical dilemmas raised by the entire research process in which they were involved. We explored, in group discussion, questions of moral value and ethical practice in relation to the conceptual basis of the research idea, the process of carrying out the study, and its outcome. Different researchers using different methodologies often found that similar ethical problems came up; we also found that different conceptualisations of research methodology posed ethical dilemmas that challenged the conventional biomedical framework.

In this book, we have collated and re-presented the workings of the seminar group, which was generally given positive feedback by its members. We felt that it would be valuable to record and present an account of our discussions; not least because there seemed to be no other sources of information that concentrated on the ethical issues raised by research work in forensic mental health settings. Most existing work about research ethics does not offer much guidance about how to think about, say, the meaning of ‘consent’ in people who are both deprived of liberty and have reduced autonomy as a result of mental disorders. Nor is there much discussion in the bioethics literature about the value of research that offers benefit not to the participant concerned, or even people like him, but to possible future people who might be victims of participants.

There have been some important policy and administrative developments in relation to ethics and research that were not in place at the time of . . .

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