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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Counter-terrorism: ethical update

Counter TerrorismRCPsych have published a supplement to last year’s position statement on Counter-Terrorism and Psychiatry (PS04/2016).

This supplement highlights some of the ethical issues that psychiatrists should consider when engaging with government counter-terrorism strategies or with patients who are suspected or convicted of being involved in terrorist offences.

It outlines the key issues surrounding:

  • Confidentiality/information sharing

  • Risk assessment

  • Definitions and boundaries: mental illness/disorder v. psychological difficulties

  • Assumptions that mental disorder is a pre-condition of terrorism

  • Evidence behind psychological interventions that may be offered to those convicted of terrorist offenses

  • Risk of perpetuating stigma

  • Risk of psychiatrists acting outside competencies/professional requirements.


Download the supplement (pdf)


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