Police disbelieve victims with mental health problems

Friday, 16 September 2016

More than one third of victims of crime with mental health problems experienced negative reactions from police officers when they disclosed their condition, according to new research (£) published in the latest issue of Centre's academic journal, The British Journal of Criminology (BJC).

Many also reported not being believed. One female, a victim of partner violence, anti-social behaviour, threats and harassment, told researchers:

The police just wouldn’t believe me. I was just starting to get this really horrible niggling feeling that you know, it didn’t matter what [police officer] was saying to my face, but behind my back she was like “yeah, she’s not right, you know, it’s a bit dubious about her because she’s under the mental health team”. And the fact that they weren’t doing anything, I thought they’re not taking it seriously.

In the same issue, a study of Kurdish Londoners visited by MI5 as part of 'anti-terror' operations finds evidence of routine coercion and harassment.

According to the author Vicki Sentas, who has previously written for this site:

Repeated visits within a community, over years and of multiple people within a confined period of time, function as collective harassment of the Kurdish people...

This subjection of Kurds to the state is unmediated by human rights norms that purport to respect experiences of persecution, including torture, cultural assimilation and denial of Kurdish identity. The processes by which legitimate acts of Kurdish political association, humanitarian efforts and community development are criminalized, gestures to a cynical and strategic state deployment of traumatized refugee subjectivity in order to disrupt identification with the Kurdish self-determination movement.

All the content in the latest BJC can be found here.