MC4 Maintaining clinical values and integrity: how professionals can lead action on contemporary institutional abuse

Date: Monday 10 July
Time: 2.00pm - 3.15pm
Stream: Leadership and management

Recent documentaries such as Panorama and Dispatches have documented evidence of institutional abuse perpetrated by mental health staff. Such reports demonstrate that this is very much a contemporary concern, and an area of practice where we cannot afford to be complacent. The knowledge and skills required to maintain safe services, identify warning signs, and, if necessary, act to protect patients following disclosure, are some of the hardest clinical skills to acquire and implement. Safeguarding and protection of people at risk is a ‘wicked problem’: complex, difficult to delineate, and where interventions may have unforeseen consequences. Beyond focus on individual perpetrators, it can be hard to understand how even when a majority of staff in an institution do not set out to inflict harm on victims, the overall impact of systems may still be harmful. It is harder still to know how to address this.

The presenters have experience of engaging with systems to address contemporary institutional abuse. Using research evidence, case examples and organisational theories, this session will address gaps in delegates’ knowledge, give insight from the perspective of both professionals and victims, and make recommendations that all professionals can implement to improve prevention, detection and response to institutional abuse.


In this session you will learn about

  • Types of institutional abuse
  • The experience of engaging with local governance systems, inspectorates and regulators
  • Organisational factors which can prevent or enable perpetrators
  • A systems-level model to describe abuse
  • The importance of recognising both victim and perpetrator characteristics
  • Risk factors at the team and institutional level
  • Preventative interventions to develop positive, protective culture and governance systems
  • Response to victims’ disclosures

Chair: Andrew Molodynski, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, United Kingdom

Institutional abuse: the role of organisational culture

Alex Thomson, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom

The lived experience of institutional abuse

Emma McAllister, Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, United Kingdom

Values-based leadership: how professionals can respond

John Baker, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

Please email or call 020 8618 4120 with any enquiries.