Absconding from secure units: a review and description of an ‘absconding pack’ — implications for wider use

Trisha Nichols (Forensic Social Work Department, Priory Secure Services)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Publication date: 1 September 2007


In the present climate of risk assessment and management, the risk posed by the mentally disordered offender might be considered central to the role of mental health professionals working with this population. To discipline risk is a challenge that involves making something uncertain somehow quantifiable, so that decisions about the short‐longer‐term future of another individual can be made and justified (Rose, 1998). Although unauthorised patient absence from secure hospitals in the UK is an infrequent phenomenon, there are often prominent repercussions, perpetuated by negative media coverage, often resulting in responses from the highest political level. This article will attempt to highlight known statistics on absconsion from secure hospitals, including frequency and consequences, and impact of negative media coverage and various reviews, inquiries and proposed recommendations, which have resulted in the proposed reforms of the Mental Health Act 1983. Finally, the article will outline the work conducted by the social work department at Chadwick Lodge and Eaglestone View (medium secure hospitals) in the development of an 'absconsion pack'. This development provides an example of safe practice through its use of collaborative inter‐professional and multidisciplinary team working, resulting in a procedure that should reduce the risks in the event of an absconsion from a medium secure hospital. The wider implications of this work will be discussed.



Nichols, T. (2007), "Absconding from secure units: a review and description of an ‘absconding pack’ — implications for wider use", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 22-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/17556228200700010

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.