Zero tolerance; measured response: responding to violence in mental health or learning disability care settings

Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
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Although workplace violence is unacceptable, when it relates to mental ill-health within a care setting the issues are complex. Staff may be caught between providing appropriate and sensitive care for people whose mental disorder results in violence, and reporting significant incidents to the police in order to protect the person, other service users and themselves. This guidance looks at best practice in responding to incidents of violence in learning disability and mental health settings. It reflects the findings of a national consultation with a wide range of stakeholders using a number of anonymised case examples. The guidance questions the traditional idea of ‘zero tolerance’ and aims towards developing a more measured response. The 2 essential outcomes from all incidents of violence in mental health and learning disability care settings are: ensuring the safety of all persons; and ensuring that the needs of the person for care and treatment (and the needs of any others affected by the incident, including staff) continue to be met in a safe and appropriate care setting. A number of recommendations are provided on the development of policies in response to violent incidents. [An updated version titled 'Responding to violence in a mental health or learning disability care setting' was published in 2017].

Subject terms:
learning disabilities, mental health care, mental health problems, policy, violence;
Content type:
practice guidance

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