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Preventing Violence

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 04 August 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:289
  1. Gwen Adshead, consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist
  1. Traumatic Stress Clinic, UCL/Middlesex and Broadmoor Hospital

    James Gilligan

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    Thames and Hudson, £6.99, pp 144

    ISBN 0 500 28278 1

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    Jim Gilligan knows something about violence. For 25 years, he has been directing provision of psychiatric care to inmates of Massachusetts prisons. He advises presidents and prime ministers; he influences policy and educates others. So when Jim Gilligan says he knows how to prevent (or at least reduce) violence, you want to listen.

    Dr Gilligan has a number of radical ideas. He argues that traditional approaches to violence prevention, which emphasise punishment, actually make violence worse; and the more severe the punishment, the worse the violence grows. Violence is more likely where there is a culture of shame. Key risk factors for shame include …

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