This survey was conducted as part of the baseline assessment of trainees' needs concerning the legal aspects of child care and to evaluate the implications for the regional academic programme. A group of specialist registrars in child and adolescent psychiatry in the North Western Deanery completed a questionnaire-based survey.
None of the specialist registrars had experience in forensic child and adolescent psychiatry. With regard to the legislation: 13 (100%) mentioned the Mental Health Act 1983; 12 (92.3%) the Children Act 1989; 7 (53.8%) the Human Rights Act 1998. of those surveyed, 13 (100%) were aware of parental responsibility; 10 (76.9%) identified the Children Act as being less stigmatising as compared to the Mental Health Act. Five (38.4%) had written court reports, and eight (61.5%) felt fairly confident after the 1-day training course. Overall interest in becoming an expert witness was 69.2% (n=9).
Deficits in knowledge about the legal framework, limited experience in forensic placements and lack of interest in becoming an expert witness need to be further explored.
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