patient in study of mixed-sex psychiatric wards reported abuse
by staff reporter
Every female patient out of 17 who featured in a study of mixed-sex
psychiatric wards said they had been assaulted or threatened, or
that they knew other patients who had.
is according to a study's findings published in this month’s
British Journal of Psychiatry.
The study aimed to assess the perceptions of staff and women patients
of their safety in medium secure psychiatric units.
Information was collated from 16 medium secure units (11 mixed and
five single-sex units) in England and Wales.
In total 58 male and female staff and 31 women patients in single-sex
and mixed-sex medium secure units took part in the study by Gillian
Mezey, Yonette Hassell and Annie Barlett, all of the University
It is recognised that women patients in mixed-sex psychiatric wards
are vulnerable to threat, harassment and abuse by male patients,
and also staff.
A Department of Health document, Safety Privacy and Dignity in Mental
Health Units, specified that it had the "clear objective"
to end mixed sex accommodation in 95% of health authority areas
Last year, however, a report by mental health charity Mind, claimed
ministers had failed to keep their pledge to keep this pledge.
In the British Journal of Psychiatry study, the women in mixed-sex
settings reported experiences of threats and violence, such as witnessing
male patients masturbating and staff assaulted by patients.
No woman reported sexual abuse by other women in the single-sex
units. But many complained of bullying, intimidation and aggressive
behaviour by other women.
6, 2004: More than half of psychiatric inpatients verbally or physically
threatened by other patients or staff, survey reports - but
Mind's survey's validity likely to be questioned due to small sample
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