Mental health service user experiences of targeted violence and hostility and help-seeking in the UK: a scoping review

Sarah Carr, Jessica Holly, Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Alison Faulkner, Dorothy Gould, Christine Khisa, Claudia Megele

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The aim of this research scoping review was to assemble an evidence base for the UK on mental health service user experiences and perspectives on mental health-related targeted violence and hostility (‘disability hate crime’). It also aims to address some of the gaps in the knowledge on risk management, help-seeking and prevention from the perspectives of those who experienced targeted violence and hostility because of their mental health problems or psychiatric status.

Seven key mental health and social care bibliographic databases were searched for relevant UK research studies from 1990 until 2016. Grey literature was identified through online searches. A scoping review charting approach and thematic analysis methodology were used to analyse the studies.

In total 13 studies were finally included, over half of which used survey methods. All studies included people with experiences of mental health problems. The studies provide information on: the types of potential hate crime; indicate where incidents take place; give some insight into the victims’ relationship with the perpetrators; the location of incidents as well as the psychological, social, financial and physical impacts on the victim; the types of help-seeking behaviours adopted by the victims; a range coping strategies that people with mental health problems adopted in response to experiences of targeted violence or abuse.

This scoping review provides a UK-based overview of mental health service user concepts and experiences of mental health-related targeted violence and hostility (‘disability hate crime’). It reveals some specific issues relating to mental health and disability hate crime. Further investigation into disability hate crime with a specific focus on mental health is required. This is a UK-based overview, which offers a useful comparator for researchers, practitioners and policy-makers internationally.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal Mental Health
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2017


  • disability hate crime
  • interpersonal violence
  • service users experience
  • mental health policy
  • targetted violence and abuse

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