Enhancing risk assessment and nursing interventions to prevent aggression and the use of restrictive interventions in forensic mental health units

Investigator: Tessa Maguire

Supervisors: Michael Daffern, Brian McKenna, Steven Bowe

Rationale and aims:

The aim of the project are to

  • Determine the impact of day-to-day risk assessments on unit staff practice for activating violence prevention strategies by assessing whether risk level (measured by the Dynamic Appraisal of Situational Aggression (DASA)) corresponds with different risk violence prevention strategies
  • Assess the impact of various violence prevention strategies on aggression in the context of forensic mental health units.


  • This research project will consist of two studies with four phases. Study one will consist of (1) an archival case file study designed to elucidate effective aggression prevention interventions for different risk-state levels, (2) a literature review of aggression prevention intervention strategies to better understand the impact of particular interventions, and to shape risk management and intervention guidelines and (3) a survey of DASA users to better understand the impact of DASA use in mental health units.
  • Study two, the final phase, will consist of a prospective pre and post intervention study designed to test the intervention guidelines developed in study one


Maguire T, Daffern M, Martin T. Exploring nurses’ and patients’ perspectives of limit setting in a forensic mental health setting. Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2014 Apr;23(2):153-60. doi: 10.1111/inm.12034