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The importance of expert evidence in matters concerning the family and children is now well recognised. Legal practitioners and those who work with them need to achieve a significant degree of knowledge and understanding of particular areas of expert evidence in order to be in a position to be able to commission the relevant evidence and, when that has been received, to be able to analyse the opinion and advise the parties/court in an effective manner.
This book deals with psychiatric expert evidence as it applies to mental disorders concerning children, adolescents and adults. The full range of psychiatric disorders is examined. A particular innovation is that the disorders are not considered separately but in relation to the full range of age groups.
To an increasing extent, disorders – whether these involve formal illness such as a depression, substance misuse or offending behaviours – appear to move seamlessly between age groups.
While the centre-piece of the book is the discussion of the substantive mental disorders, accounts are also given of the psychological development of individuals from childhood to mature old age, followed by a general discussion of the nature and scope of mental disorders. The purpose of this study of mental disorders, as found in various age groups, is to help understand the issues as they arise in family and child law proceedings.
The final part of the book examines issues such as pathology within the family, the socio-cultural background to psychiatric pathology, violent behaviour, the meaning of the rose.