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Homicide inquiries: What sense do they make?

  • George Szmukler (a1)
Extract

We recently had a homicide inquiry in our trust. The events around the release of the report made for a demoralising experience. The visible pain in the families of the victim and the perpetrator caused by the tragedy was heart-rending. As Medical Director, I also saw at first hand the powerful impact on the members of the team involved, my colleagues in general, the trust management and the health authority, all of whom strive to provide effective mental health services in one of the most deprived areas in the country. There were also political influences, especially the need to be seen not to tolerate poor performance. Allusions to disciplinary issues were not infrequent. We all found it very disturbing. I was forced to think a lot about homicide inquiries and became increasingly struck by a growing number of internal contradictions. I started making notes to help order my thoughts. I offer for discussion some conclusions using this inquiry (Scotland et al, 1998) as an example.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Department of Health (1990) The Care Programme Approach for People with a Mental Illness Referred to Specialist Psychiatric Services. HC(90)23. London: HMSO.
Department of Health (1998) In-patients Formally Detained in Hospitals Under the Mental Health Act 1983 and Other Legislation. NHS Trusts, High Security Hospitals and Private Facilities: 1996–97. Government Statistical Service. London: The Stationery Office.
Department of Health (1999) National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness: Safer Services. K73/00115348 1P 6k. Leeds: Department of Health.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Homicide inquiries: What sense do they make?

  • George Szmukler (a1)
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