Nicola Gray, John Gunn, David James, John Monahan, Robert Snowden, Pamela J Taylor, Julian Walker, Lisa Jane Warren

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The title of this chapter has given us pause. The government commissioned report which laid the foundations for modern forensic psychiatry in the UK [(Home Office, Department of Health and social security (Butler), 1975] used the term ‘dangerousness’, but it is now rarely used in clinical practice. After a man was convicted of high profile homicides which had occurred shortly after his
departure from a hospital, a later government intervention in England and Wales brought the concept of ‘Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder’ into being (Home Office, 1999), although this terminology has since been confined to history (see chapter 16). The conjunction of words was
generally not welcomed by clinicians, and may have been a factor in the UK in consolidating a preference for use of the term ‘risk’, generally here shorthand for a concept of risk of a seriously adverse event. ‘Risk’ is sometimes, though, a term used so unthinkingly by clinicians that the question ‘risk of what?’ invokes puzzlement, so we have retained the title word of dangerousness to emphasize that our concern here is with risk of serious harm to others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForensic Psychiatry: Clinical, legal and ethical issues
EditorsJohn Gunn, Pamela Taylor
Place of PublicationBoca Raton, FL
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781444165067
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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