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This paper reports on the process of collecting information to develop recommendations for a national UK guideline for the short-term management of disturbed/violent behaviour in adult psychiatric inpatients and emergency departments. Part of this information was gathered using focus groups undertakenwith service users. The views of African- Caribbean individuals were a particularly important part of this information gathering, as numerous reports and inquiries have demonstrated that black people are more likely than others to have negative experiences of mental health services. Twenty-four mental health service users and nine staff, all, except one staff participant, of African- Caribbean origin, took part in focus groups. Data were transcribed and content analysis was conducted independently by three researchers. Findings revealed four overarching themes: voicelessness, powerlessness, inappropriate treatment and control. These themes informed the generation of recommendations. This paper shows that focus group data ensure that service users’ voices are heard and that those voices can contribute to the development of guidelines alongside other data. In doing so, service users’ voices can help to improve the sensitivity and quality of guideline recommendations.