Developing and evaluating interventions for women firesetters in high secure mental healthcare

Annesley, Phyllis and Davison, Leonie and Colley, Chris and Gilley, Liz and Thomson, Louise (2017) Developing and evaluating interventions for women firesetters in high secure mental healthcare. Journal of Forensic Practice, 19 (1). pp. 59-76. ISSN 2050-8794

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The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implementation and evaluation of interventions for women firesetters in high secure mental healthcare at the UK’s National Women’s Service.


Two types of Arson treatment programmes for women, one delivered to individuals, the other within a group context, were developed, delivered and evaluated. The evaluation incorporated qualitative and quantitative data, including psychometric measures. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis.


The evaluation evidenced very high engagement with and attendance at treatment programmes, and several post-treatment gains. Participants’ ratings of programmes and qualitative feedback were similarly very positive. The study demonstrated that engaging women firesetters in their treatment is paramount and can be facilitated by consistent boundaries around therapy provision balanced with sensitivity, empathy and flexibility; providing interactive and varied teaching methods; ongoing service user involvement and recognising participants’ achievements; employing a mixed cognitive analytic therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy therapeutic approach; having input from fire service staff; and maintaining organisational support for firesetting interventions.

Practical implications

In all, 12 key recommendations are made for clinicians considering offering treatment programmes for women firesetters.


Amid few published papers on treating women firesetters this paper guides forensic clinicians in establishing and delivering interventions for women firesetters.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: arson treatment; firesetting; high secure; treatment delivery; mental health; united kingdom
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2017 08:19
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:59

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