Redeveloping secure psychiatric services for women



Publication Details

Thomas, S. DM., Dolan, M., Shaw, J., Thomas, S., Thornicroft, G. & Leese, M. (2005). Redeveloping secure psychiatric services for women. Medicine, Science and the Law, 45 (4), 331-339.


Historically, a substantial proportion of women have been unduly detained in conditions of high security in England due to the lack of suitable alternative facilities. There have been no studies that have comprehensively examined the individual needs of these women in relation to their placement needs. A cross sectional survey was undertaken of the individual and placement needs of all females detained in the three high security psychiatric hospitals (HSPHs) in England on 18th October 1999. Whilst there are clearly differences in accommodation needs among the women, those requiring lower secure services are significantly less likely to have needs in relation to violence (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.14-0.62) and drugs (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.12-0.67) when length of stay is taken into account. They also have lower security, treatment and dependency needs than women still requiring HSPH treatment. A significant reorganisation of services is required. There is a need to gain further understanding of the relationships between traumatic histories, clinical presentation and antisocial behaviour and how these impact on assessed risk, treatment and care needs and outcome. The special needs of these women should be considered a priority when developing treatment and care packages.

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