alleged rapes of psychiatric patients almost certainly never happened"
by Angela Hussain
alleged rapes of psychiatric patients in mental health units almost
certainly never happened, the national director of mental health
July this year the National Patient Safety Agency found 19 cases
of alleged rapes of patients in NHS mental health settings between
2003 and 2005.
Professor Louis Appleby, the government's mental health "tsar",
reviewed each allegation and said there is "significant doubt"
as to whether any incident at all took place in 13 of the 19 alleged
Appleby said: "Although it was not our aim to determine whether
the allegations were true or not, we did receive details on most
cases and in my opinion there is significant doubt in the majority
as to whether any incident occurred.
"For example, several allegations were made when the patient's
mental state was severely disturbed, and the details of the allegations
significant doubt applies to 13 of the 19 - there are too few details
in the rest to make any comment.
is important to remember that press reporting in July assumed that
19 rapes had occurred: the reputation of mental health services
may well have been unfairly damaged by this."
Nevertheless, the government has pledged to spend £30 million
in a bid to improve the sexual safety of female psychiatric patients.
The funds will be used
"to enhance safety on mental health wards, particularly for
guidance is also to be issued next year to help mental health trusts
ensure all safety incidents and allegations of a sexual nature are
properly managed .
Professor Appleby said: "Despite what has been discovered about
these 19 cases, I believe that the general issue of sexual safety
remains important and I am determined to see that this issue is
July 21, 2006: Alleged rapes
of NHS psychiatric patients “truly shocking” - outrage
as report claims 11 of 19 alleged rapes were by staff.
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