Exploring the frequency, duration and experience of seclusion for women in a forensic mental health setting: A mixed-methods study protocol

Alison Hansen, Michael Hazelton, Robyn Rosina, Kerry J. Inder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review


Introduction Seclusion use is high in forensic mental health settings and is associated with avoidable physical and psychological harm. The use of seclusion causes significant distress and trauma for those secluded and women in these settings are particularly vulnerable. This study protocol aims to identify factors associated with the use of seclusion and the experience of seclusion for women in forensic mental health settings. Methods and analysis This study will use a prospective mixed-methods design. Quantitative data on the frequency and duration of seclusion and potential explanatory demographic and clinical variables will be collected prospectively from consecutive medical records of women admitted to a forensic mental health service over a 2-year period. Data will be analysed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression techniques. Qualitative data will be collected from individual face-to-face semistructured interviews with women who have experienced seclusion about the reason for seclusion, whether they agreed with the reason for seclusion, their experience of the seclusion event and the seclusion environment and support provided while in seclusion using qualitative description methods. Data will be analysed using thematic analysis. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval has been granted by the University of Newcastle Human Research Ethics Committee (H-2019-0122) and organisational support granted from the participating forensic mental health service. Participation will be voluntary and written informed consent is required. Results will be disseminated via the first author's doctoral thesis, in peer-reviewed journals and at conferences. Results will inform recommendations for policy, and evidence for timely and specific interventions to support the reduction of seclusion for women in forensic mental health settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere044261
Number of pages7
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • forensic psychiatry
  • mental health
  • psychiatry

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