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Reporting sexual violence on mental health wards

Foley, M; Cummins, ID

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M Foley


This paper reports the findings of a scoping study that explored the extent of recorded sexual violence perpetrated on inpatients on mental health units.

Using Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests, data was obtained from both Police forces and subsequently Mental Health Trusts on the number of recorded offences of rape and sexual assault by penetration for the five years 2010- 2015.

There were significant variations in the way that both Police forces and Mental Health (MH) Trusts approached the recording of this information.

Research limitations/implications
The research highlights variation and inadequacy of current recording practices in relation to sexual offences committed against inpatients on mental health units.

Practical implications
There needs to be more consistent system of recording of allegations of sexual assault and responses to them by agencies. In the Trust recording of these incidents, it is recommended that a specific category of sexual violence is created.

The paper highlights the ‘gap’ of information in relation to recorded rape and may indicate that complainants with a history of mental illness are less likely to have their allegation recorded as a crime.


Foley, M., & Cummins, I. (2018). Reporting sexual violence on mental health wards. Journal of Adult Protection, 20(2), 93-100.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 22, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 12, 2018
Publication Date Mar 12, 2018
Deposit Date Apr 3, 2018
Publicly Available Date Apr 3, 2018
Journal The Journal of Adult Protection
Print ISSN 1466-8203
Publisher Emerald
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 93-100
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs


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