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Staff experience of harassment and stalking behaviour by patients

Clarke, Martin; Yanson, Ian; Saleem, Younis; Edworthy, Rachel; Khalifa, Najat

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Martin Clarke

Ian Yanson

Younis Saleem

Rachel Edworthy

Najat Khalifa


Staff from one National Health Service (NHS) Trust in England completed an online survey (N = 590) about their experience of intrusive behaviours from patients. These experiences were categorised into either stalking or harassment and compared in terms of staff and patient characteristics, types of intrusions, and aftermath. Overall, 150 were classified as being stalked (25.4%) and 172 harassed (29.2%). There were no differences in staff characteristics between the two groups. Staff from forensic services and nursing staff were particularly susceptible to these intrusions which took many forms. Respondents perceived a range of causes for the stalking and harassment, the most common being to gain power and control/to scare. It was rare for legal sanctions to be brought against the patient. Our findings reinforce the need for service providers to have policies supported with preventative measures, education and a robust process for addressing stalking so that these measures are embedded in practice in a way that supports staff working with patients. Furthermore, service providers should be challenged on what steps they have taken to prevent, and monitor, such behaviour.


Clarke, M., Yanson, I., Saleem, Y., Edworthy, R., & Khalifa, N. (in press). Staff experience of harassment and stalking behaviour by patients. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 15(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 13, 2016
Online Publication Date Apr 26, 2016
Deposit Date Apr 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2016
Journal International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Print ISSN 1499-9013
Electronic ISSN 1932-9903
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 3
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Forensic Mental Health on 2016 (online 26 April 2016), available online:


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