Article available free: ‘Gendered experiences of physical restraint on locked wards for women’

Gendered experiences of physical restraint on locked wards for women

Rebecca Fish and Chris Hatton

Physical restraint is used in inpatient services for people with intellectual disabilities as a way of holding a person to avoid injury. This article uses data from an ethnographic study in a locked unit in the north of England to explore women’s experiences of physical restraint using a feminist disability studies analysis. Data consists of field notes as well as interviews with 16 of the women who had experienced restraint, and 10 staff who worked with them. The women gave insights into the gendered phenomenon of restraint in light of their past experiences of violence. The authors argue that restraint is used with women to encourage passivity at times when more relational and therapeutic methods could be used. The article offers recommendations for alternative strategies that services can encourage.

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