Exploring the relationship between domestic violence perpetration and suicide risk in male prisoners
Suicide in prisons remains a critical issue for frontline staff and policy makers, however there are gaps in understanding who, of an already vulnerable population, is at increased risk and why. This thesis explores the relationship between domestic violence perpetration and suicide risk in prisoners, as although such a link has been suggested it has not been investigated in custodial populations. The first study uses template analysis to identify what is known and gaps in knowledge about domestically violent men who died by suicide in prison by analysing Prison and Probation Ombudsman Fatal Incident Reports (FIRs). Drawing from qualitative interviews, the second study uses thematic analysis to explore the experiences ofdomestically violent prisoners who have attempted suicide in prison.Overall the two studies demonstrate that a relationship between domestic violence perpetration and suicide risk exists in a prison population. The first study identified two overarching aspects to FIRs; individual factors and situational and management factors. A key finding was the limited knowledge and understanding of the histories and backgrounds of the men studied within FIRs. However, the study identified potentially important areas of further exploration including how the men experienced relationships, coping skills and their emotional experience. The second study identified five key themes that illustrate the experiences of domestically violent men who have attempted suicide in custody through a sequence or pathway of experiences; Trauma, victimisation and life struggles, Relationship ideals versus relationship reality, Explaining domestic violence, The impact of prison and Suicide as a coping strategy. This thesis concludes that the relationship between domestic violence and suicide risk in prisoners may be better understood by consideration of underlying features of domestic violence perpetrators, such as experiences of trauma, personality psychopathology and attachment. Further exploring pathways to suicide in this population may provide useful insight in the future.
- School of Sport and Health Sciences