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Forensic intellectual disability services: differences in staff perspectives in the Danish and Norwegian systems
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-06-28, DOI: 10.1108/jidob-01-2021-0001
Eskil Nyhus, Søren Holst, Charlotte Munch, Erik Søndenaa


Persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) who offend are treated differently depending on the national jurisdiction. Norway and Denmark are two such examples. The differences in care models may also have an impact on staff perspectives. This paper aims to study the differences between Norwegian and Danish staff members within secure forensic ID services.


A cross-sectional study involving Norwegian (n = 145) and Danish staff (n = 279) in secure forensic learning disabilities services was conducted. The response rates were 50% in Denmark (n = 147) and 69% in Norway (n = 98), respectively. An electronic survey covering five sets of topics (demographic characteristics, working conditions, workplace culture, work motivation and work resilience) was used. The findings was statistically analysed using SPSS.


This study confirmed that staff in the two neighbouring countries have common conceptions of their employment. Danish staff were more exposed to violent incidents (t = 4.1(237); p < 0.001). There was greater concern with workplace safety in Denmark (t = 5.2(237); p < 0.001) compared to more team-based and rigid working conditions in Norway (t = −2.6(237); p < 0.01).


These differences are discussed in relation to some important national differences in a professional culture, educational systems, service organisation and legal issues that possibly add realistic explanations to the findings.