INTRODUCTION: Although people with a psychotic disorder are approximately four to six times more often victimized than the general population, victimization is not routinely assessed in mental healthcare. This study investigates prevalence, context and risk factors of victimization in patients with a psychotic disorder in the Northern, relatively rural region of the Netherlands. Moreover, disclosure rates and awareness of psychiatrists are examined.
METHOD: Information on personal crime (threats, assaults and sexual violence), property and other forms of crime, the context of victimization and disclosure was routinely assessed in 353 patients with a psychotic disorder who received care at a mental health facility. In addition, involved psychiatrists reported on last year's victimization incidents in their patients.
RESULTS: One third of the patients reported victimization in the previous year. More than half of the crimes were committed by someone acquainted and took place in the victim's own home or a place familiar to the victim. Younger age, having a comorbid disorder, drug use and perpetration of a crime were all positively associated with victimization. Approximately half of the reported personal crimes were disclosed to a health care professional but only in 16% of the cases the involved psychiatrist report to know about the incident.
CONCLUSION: This study confirms that people with a history of psychosis have an increased risk of becoming the victim of a crime. Although our results suggest that in fifty percent of cases the patients did share the information with professionals, a substantial proportion of incidents appear to go still unnoticed.
- SEVERE MENTAL-ILLNESS
- VIOLENT VICTIMIZATION