Autism, developmental disorders and the criminal justice system

Course overview

People with developmental disorders like intellectual disability and autism are at an increased risk of developing psychiatric and mental health problems. With complex comorbidity and social disadvantage, they are over-represented within in-patient and forensic mental health systems in the UK and elsewhere in the world. Even after years of de-institutionalisation and promoting community care, this group suffers not just a lack of equity in treatment access, but also in treatment outcomes.

This introductory course, developed with input from experts by experience and featuring a well-known faculty, will provide an introduction to some of the key topics in this area. It will be of interest to adult, child, forensic and learning disability psychiatrists, multi-disciplinary health and social care teams and criminal justice professionals across the world.

Course format

  • The certificate is made up of 12 hours of six e-learning modules, 24 hours of self-study time, six hours of related eLearning content and a three-hour interactive webinar with an expert faculty.
  • Please allow 45 hours to complete the course. 
  • The eLearning modules will be hosted on our CPD eLearning platform.
  • You must complete all six eLearning modules before attending the webinar.
  • Each module is comprised of recorded presentations, interactive learning exercises and an end of-module test.
  • The three-hour Q&A webinar will be an opportunity for you to discuss what you have learnt with a panel of experts.


  • Module 1: An introduction to developmental disorders, mental disorders and crime, Challenging behaviour, Psychiatric co-morbidity (2 hours)
  • Module 2: Assessing and managing risk using actuarial and structured clinical judgement tools (2 hours)
  • Module 3: An introduction to assessment and treatment approaches (2 hours)
  • Module 4: An overview of sex offender and fire setting treatment programmes (2 hours)
  • Module 5: Interface between the criminal justice and mental healthcare systems and the experience of women in the forensic system (2 hours)
  • Module 6: Commissioning and developing services and measuring treatment outcomes (2 hours)


  • Course Director: Professor Regi Alexander (University of Hertfordshire)
  • Co-Director: Professor Peter Langdon (University of Warwick)
  • Co-Director: Dr Abdul Raoof (Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Dr Harm Boer (Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust)
  • Ms Verity Chester (Editor, Advances in Autism))
  • Dr Ken Courtenay (Barnet, Enfield and Haringey NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Dr Jana De Villiers (State Hospital, Scotland)
  • Professor Conor Duggan (Emeritus Professor, University of Nottingham)
  • Dr Jane McCarthy (Sussex Partnership NHS Trust)
  • Dr Iain McKinnon (University of Newcastle)
  • Professor Glynis Murphy (University of Kent)
  • Dr Rory Sheehan (Kings College London)
  • Professor John Taylor (Northumbria University)
  • Dr Phil Temple (Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Ms Reena Tharian (Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Professor Asif Zia (University of West London)

How to book

  • Please select the webinar you wish to attend.
  • The certificate costs £750 - includes access to the eLearning modules + your live three-hour Q&A session
  • NHS Trusts wishing to 'bulk buy' places on the course will be eligible for discounted rates. Please contact us for more details.
  • The course will launch in 2023, whereupon you will be given access to complete the eLearning modules ahead of your pre-booked webinar.
  • Please note: Cancelling and re-booking for a different webinar will incur a 20% administration fee. Please ensure you are available for your selected webinar before booking. Read our terms and conditions before booking.