Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust is the lead provider for the delivery of Forensic Autism Services across the Lancashire and South Cumbria footprint. The service provides care and support for individuals aged 16 and above with a diagnosis of autism who present with a significant forensic risk.

The Forensic Autism Service (FAS) launched in April 2022 and is based at Guild Lodge, a secure mental health service in Preston, Lancashire. The FAS is a multi-disciplinary team that consists of a clinical lead, team manager, psychologist, nurses, a speech and language therapist, an occupational therapist, an assistant practitioner, a consultant psychiatrist, a social worker, and a support worker. The team also has dedicated administrative support.

The FAS delivers the service Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, offering consultancy, support, and case management where appropriate to autistic individuals with a significant forensic risk. This includes providing evidence-based interventions through a combination of specialist risk assessments and management, face-to-face therapeutic interventions and support, as well as support and training for other services. The FAS can also provide advice and consultancy to the referring agencies and provide signposting to other relevant agencies if and when necessary to meet the needs of this client group.

To be referred to the Forensic Autism Service the eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • A diagnosis of autism, or awaiting an autism diagnostic assessment. If there currently is no formal diagnosis but are awaiting assessment, an autism spectrum quotient screening tool (AQ-10) form is available to complete.
  • Those whose autism has a significant impact on social functioning and are presenting with significant risk or offending behaviours towards others (such as physical violence, sexual violence, arson, serious property damage, stalking, and harassment) within the last 12 months or significant historical risk to others that has current relevance and concern. 
  • Individuals may be accepted without an offending history where there is clear evidence of a serious risk to others in the context of escalating behaviours.

The entry point to the service will be via referral from a lead agency that is already working with an individual, such as local mental health teams, local inpatient services, probation, youth offending services, or HMP establishments (including YOI).