Questionnaire survey of forensic carers
Forensic carers throughout Scotland were invited to complete a questionnaire survey either online or paper copy which they returned in a prepaid envelope. The questionnaire was designed in conjunction with carers on the Working Group, and drew upon key issues identified in the literature.
Forensic carers were asked to give details about themselves (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, etc.), and about the person they cared for, their experiences of forensic mental health services, the nature of carer support including independent carers advocacy that they were both aware of and/or had used, their experience of the person they cared for being transferred into or between forensic mental health services, the key challenges they had faced in this role, and for suggestions about how support to forensic carers could improve.
A total of 550 questionnaires were distributed on behalf of the researchers via a range of services and organisations: 400 of these were distributed through forensic mental health services across Scotland; 50 through Support in Mind Scotland; 50 via carers organisations and groups (including Tayside Forensic Voices, Lanarkshire Links, Charing Cross Carers Group and Edinburgh Carers Council); 20 via SACRO transport service; and 50 were given out at the annual Forensic Network Carers Conference.
In addition, information about the study and an electronic version of the questionnaire were circulated via email to advocacy organisations providing carers advocacy, and other user and carer organisations including Voices of Experience (VOX).
Organisations such as the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance (SIAA) and the Community Health Exchange (CHEX) ran items in their newsletters inviting carers to participate in the study. Also, Support in Mind Scotland circulated information widely to carers, individuals and organisations on their databases. An internet link to the survey was given in the information sheet.