BU’s Colin Pritchard: study links mental illness to killing

BU’s Professor Colin Pritchard was interviewed in The Guardian on June 20 about his latest study which shows a link between mental illness and killing children.

Colin told Guardian journalist David Brindle: “In effect, we have rediscovered the psychiatric-criminological interface with child protection and, although very rare, mentally ill or personality-disordered parents can be a threat to children, especially if the child is included in some delusional or hallucinatory state.”

In a forthcoming study Colin’s research suggests that there is clear statistical evidence suggesting that children are more at risk from men, especially stepfathers, with a history of violence and from parents with mental disorders. Child protection workers should reflect this explicitly in their practice, he says.

Despite his research Professor Pritchard stresses that the overall level of risk to children in the UK is very low and is usually overstated by the media, something which is a consistent theme of his studies. He acknowledges that the vast majority of parents with mental illness never harm their children and can, with appropriate support, provide loving family environments.