A Preliminary Model of Forensic Practitioner Resilience Within a Learning Disabilities Service

Joel Harvey, Brian Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to examine the complexities involved in the role of forensic practitioners working with people with learning disabilities and to put forward a preliminary model of forensic practitioner resilience.Design/methodology/approach– This study uses a cross‐sectional qualitative design and samples ten professionals working within a forensic learning disabilities service.Findings– Staff identified a number of complexities in their role which included the presentation of the client group, risk assessment and management, multi‐agency working, and the emotional complexity of the work. A preliminary model of resilience was developed which set out factors that would help staff manage these complexities and work towards meeting the needs of service users. This model includes individual, proximal and wider systemic factors. It is argued that building relationships and establishing trust with service users, staff, and wider agencies is the bedrock of forensic practitioner resilience. Moreover, it is argued that an integrative model of multi‐disciplinary team working helps facilitate trust between staff and is underpinned by trust in the first place.Originality/value– This paper makes an original contribution because it qualitatively examines how staff within a forensic learning disabilities service interpret their role and details the complexities involved in their jobs. It also puts forward a preliminary model of forensic practitioner resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-169
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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