Despite many investigations and inquiries into violent
incidents in mental health settings, safety considerations for
mental health staff continues to be an issue of serious
Aggression and violence are often preventable. This relies
heavily on the awareness and skills of mental health clinicians
working in organizations that are supportive and that help
professionals to develop practical skills in a safe physical
environment. However, there are still serious gaps.
This report augments Safety for Trainees in Psychiatry
(CR78 - now withdrawn), published in 1999. The scope
of the report has been broadened to include all practising
psychiatrists. The Working Party has reviewed the safety literature
published since the last report, and consulted widely with other
organizations which have similar concerns.
The report focuses on those measures which can reduce the
chances of assaults taking place, or of serious injury being
sustained should it occur. Trusts and other employing organisations
already have statutory obligations to ensure that the environment
in which mental health professionals work is safe and secure, and
this report does not dwell in this area, other than to point out
where psychiatrists still notice deficiencies.
Brief vignettes exemplify situations which are likely to give
rise to safety considerations in various settings, and advice is
given on prevention and ways to reduce escalation of risk.