The unit raises important questions concerning current and historical understandings of mental illness, its relationship to crime, the culpability of the offender and appropriate sanctions and treatment.  The unit discuss the nature of mental illness, the defence of not guilty on the grounds of mental illness and the involuntary treatment of prisoners.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Critically review and discuss the various historical and contemporary understandings of mental illness.  
  2. Critically examine and discuss interconnections between mental illness, crime and the and general principles of criminal liability derived both from common law and statute.  
  3. Evaluate the use of involuntary treatment and commitment in Australia.  
  4. Application of Learning outcome 1, 2 and 3 in contemporary settings.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Essay Undertake a research based essay (2,000 words) on a selected topic 30%
Case Study Case study 20%
Examination 2 hour exam 50%

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