People who’ve been diagnosed with severe mental illnesses are from three to ten times more likely to become victims of violent and non-violent crimes than members of the general population, according to a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The research team interviewed 361 psychiatric patients using the national crime survey questionnaire, and compared the findings with 3,138 people from the general population who’d completed a similar survey. In the previous year, 40% of the patients had been a victim of a crime, compared to 14% of the control group. About 19% of the patients had been violently assaulted, compared to just 3% of the general population, a six-fold difference. Women with mental illnesses, the researchers wrote, were particularly vulnerable, having “four-, ten- and four-fold increases in the odds of experiencing domestic, community and sexual violence, respectively.” Khalifeh, H., S. Johnson, L. M. Howard, R. Borschmann, D. Osborn, K. Dean, C. Hart, J. Hogg, and P. Moran. “Violent and Non-Violent Crime against Adults with Severe Mental Illness.” The British Journal of Psychiatry, February 7, 2015.
This article first appeared Mad in America, 5 March 2015.