Projects relating to Self-Harm

Associated projects: completed

Women offenders repeated self-harm intervention pilot (worship) study


The research team is multi-disciplinary, including representatives from sociology, statistics, general and forensic psychiatry and qualitative methods, including an expert on self-harm.

This study aims to provide a gender-sensitive response to the increasing clinical dilemma of repeated self-harm in women prisoners by developing with women an acceptable and effective intervention. In the past decade, the number of women in prison has increased dramatically, with an average prison population rise of 111.5% between 1993 and 2000 compared to a 42% increase for men.


  • To establish the needs of women prisoners who self harm
  • To adapt an intervention used to reduce self-harm and suicide risk in a community sample of women and men for use in a womens' prison environment
  • To pilot the modified intervention in a northwest local prison with a sample of women prisoners who have recently self-harmed
  • To assess the impact of the intervention on thoughts of self-harm
  • To assess the acceptability for women prisoners and staff of the intervention

Duration of the project

Work commenced in October 2006 and ran until 2009.

Funding body

The Research was funded by National Institute for Health Research through the National R&D Programme on Forensic Mental Health.

Members of the project

Professor Kathryn Abel Principal investigator
Professor Jenny ShawInvestigator
Professor Carolyn Chew-GrahamInvestigator
Dr Jayne CooperInvestigator


  • Kenning, C., Cooper, J., Short, V., Shaw, J., Abel, K., & Chew-Graham, C. (2010). Prison staff and women prisoner's views on self-harm; their implications for service delivery and development: A qualitative study.Criminal behaviour and mental health : CBMH, 20(4), 274-284. DOI: 10.1002/cbm.777. Publication link: 78121181-f2f7-4783-a3f0-ce2d950468b5 | PubMed:20603816
  • Short, V., Cooper, J., Shaw, J., Kenning, C., Abel, K., & Chew-Graham, C. (2009). Custody vs care: Attitudes of prison staff to self-harm in women prisoners-a qualitative study. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 20(3), 408-426. DOI: 10.1080/14789940802377114. Publication link: 548957ea-b252-49b9-b1f4-5f6fb05e5834