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Why community compulsion became the solution: reforming mental health law in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4540-5373
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6330-5640
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, ISSN 0160-2527, E-ISSN 1873-6386, Vol. 34, no 6, 419-428 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aimof this article is to understand how compulsory community care (CCC) has become a solution in mental health policy in so many different legal and social contexts during the last 20 years. The recent introduction of CCC in Sweden is used as a case in point, which is then contrasted against the processes in Norway, England/Wales and New York State. In Sweden, the issue of CCC was initiated following high-profile acts of violence. Contrary to several other states, therewas agreement about the (lack of) evidence about its  effectiveness. Rather than focusing on dangerousness, the government proposal about CCC was framedwithin an ideology of integrating the disabled. The new legislation allowed for a broad range ofmeasures to control patients at the same time as itwas presented as a means to protect positive rights for patients. Compared to previous legislation in Sweden, the scope of social control has remained largely the same, although the rationale has changed — from medical treatment via community treatment and rehabilitation, to reducing the risk of violence, and then shifting back to rehabilitation in the community. The Swedish approach to CCC is similar to Norway, while New York and England/Wales have followed different routes. Differences in ideology, social control and rights orientations can be understood with reference to the general welfare and care regimes that characterize the four states.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 34, no 6, 419-428 p.
Keyword [en]
mental health policy, mental health law, outpatient coercion, community treatment orders, outpatient commitment, compulsory community care
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-51760DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2011.10.007ISI: 000298905900007OAI: diva2:488209
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Available from: 2012-02-01 Created: 2012-02-01 Last updated: 2014-10-29Bibliographically approved

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Sjöström, StefanZetterberg, LivMarkström, Urban
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