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People with severe mental illness at ... risk of being victims of crime

SarahD

SarahD

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People with severe mental illness at ... risk of being victims of crime

From rcpsych.ac.uk (link won't display)

People with severe mental illness at greatly increased risk of being victims of crime

Embargoed until 19 February 2015

For immediate release:19 February 2015
People with severe mental illness are at greatly increased risk of being victims of crime, according to new research published in the BJPsych (online first).

Studies have previously shown that people with severe mental illness who experience violence are also likely to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), may not adhere to treatments, and may experience problems during their recovery period.

While preventing violence is a public health priority, little is known about whether violence against people with severe mental illness is substantially different – in terms of nature, impact and reporting of crime – from violence against the general population.

To find out more, a group of London-based researchers interviewed 361 psychiatric patients using a national crime survey questionnaire, and compared the findings with 3,138 people (the control group) who did not have a severe mental illness and who had also taken part in a national crime survey.

40% of the patient group compared with 14% of the control group were victims of a crime in the preceding year. The researchers found that people with severe mental illness were five times more likely to be victims of assault, and three times more likely to be victims of household crime and criminal damage than the control group - even after taking into account differences in their demographics and social circumstances.

Women with severe mental illness were at particularly high risk of violence, both community (perpetrated by strangers or acquaintances) and domestic (perpetrated by partners or family members), researchers found.

Substance misuse and violence perpetration accounted for the risk of victimisation among men, but not among women. Given these differences in risk pathways, researchers suggested that there was a need for ‘gender sensitive’ interventions, which recognise that women experience high rates of physical and sexual violence by a broad range of perpetrators, often in private settings.

Researchers also found that half of the victims of violence in the study had unmet support needs. Hind Khalifeh, academic psychiatrist at King’s College London, said: “In routine clinical practice, victimisation is under-detected by mental health professionals, and where it is detected, appropriate support may not be provided.

“Mental health professionals need to identify victimisation, and to work jointly with legal and voluntary organisations to ensure that people with severe mental health problems who are victims of crime receive the care and support they need and deserve.”

Reference: Khalifeh H et al. Violent and non-violent crime against adults with severe mental illness. British Journal of Psychiatry. ePub ahead of print 19 February 2015.



For more information or comment, please contact: Dr Hind Khalifeh, Senior Clinical Researcher, King’s College London, [email protected]
 
Jaminacaranda

Jaminacaranda

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The strong prey on the vulnerable. I don't know how to stop them doing that.
 
SarahD

SarahD

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No, me neither.

One reason I posted this was because of an earlier news item which associated severe mental illness with increased violence. Most are not violent, and many are more likely to be victims.
 
Jaminacaranda

Jaminacaranda

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Although in my experience, those who prey on the vulnerable or are 'bullies' often aren't too psychologically 'whole and content' themselves. They often use their ability to be violent to give the illusion of self-confidence and mask their inner turmoil and uncertainty. Not excusing them, you understand. Perhaps suggesting we need a massive cultural change in what individual characteristics we view (or are taught/encouraged to view) as desirable.
 
S

starzzzzz

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People with mental health issues are much more likely to be a victim of crime than a perpetrator of crime. Everyone knows that...duh
 
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