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Victim relations and victim gender in violent crimes committed by offenders with schizophrenia
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
2003 (English)In: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, ISSN 0933-7954, E-ISSN 1433-9285, Vol. 38, no 6, 326-330 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Family members and friends appear to be most at risk of becoming victims of violence committed by offenders with major mental disorders. The aim of the present study is to examine, in a national sample, victim relation in violent crimes committed by male offenders with schizophrenia, with special reference to victim gender and the severity of violence. METHOD: We identified all violent offenders who were diagnosed with schizophrenia in forensic psychiatric evaluations during the years 1992-2000 and examined their court convictions. In total 588 victims were included, 327 men and 261 women, and distributed into three groups based on their relation to the offender: Family of origin (n = 77), Network (n = 183) and Unacquainted (n = 328). RESULTS: The majority of the victims were unacquainted with the offender, but the violence was less severe in this group. Among family members, e. g. parents, siblings and grandparents, there were more female than male victims (60 % vs 40 %), and victims in families, as well as males within the offender's network, were those most likely to be seriously or fatally injured. Female family victims, in particular mothers, were those most likely to die as victims of severe violence. CONCLUSIONS: The study highlights the risk for family members and the immediate network of becoming a target of violence. Mental health services together with community-based services have an important task in identifying risk situations and taking preventive measures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 38, no 6, 326-330 p.
Keyword [en]
schizophrenia, violence, victim, family, gender, Sweden
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4038DOI: 10.1007/s00127-003-0640-5PubMedID: 12799783OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-4038DiVA: diva2:142988
Available from: 2004-08-25 Created: 2004-08-25 Last updated: 2011-05-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Violent offenders with schizophrenia: quantitative and qualitative studies focusing on the family of origin
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Violent offenders with schizophrenia: quantitative and qualitative studies focusing on the family of origin
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The focus of the thesis is on violent offenders with schizophrenia and their relatives. The aims were to explore incidence of violent crimes, the extent to which family members were victims, to investigate individual background factors among violent offenders, and to identify psychotic symptoms and triggering factors associated with fatal violence. In addition, parents were interviewed to build an understanding of their experiences and emotional reactions.

One study examined all 369 male individuals who had committed a violent crime (assault, homicide or attempt to any of these crimes), who in a pre-trial forensic psychiatric evaluation (FPE) during 1992-2000 were diagnosed with schizophrenia, and who were referred to forensic psychiatric treatment. Although the majority of the 615 victims was unacquainted to the offenders, family members or male acquainted were most at risk of being severely injured or killed as victims.

Background factors were studied for the 207 Swedish offenders who for their first time were subjects of a FPE during the study period. There were indications that those offenders who targeted family members had an earlier onset and more severe course of their mental illness.

During the study period, 48 offenders committed homicides. Of the 52 victims, 83% were family members or acquainted to the offender. Those who killed a family member had more often delusions and/or hallucinations, were less often intoxicated, had to a lesser extent committed a previous violent crime and they were younger at the time of the homicide.

Parents, who were interviewed, were very emotionally involved in their adult sons, although they were not living together. Ignorance regarding the diagnosis of their son and his criminality negatively influenced the contacts, both between parent and son and between parent and professionals in psychiatry. However, the referral to forensic psychiatric treatment gave the parents hope for a positive development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Klinisk vetenskap, 2004. 58 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 904
Keyword
Psychiatry, schizophrenia, offenders, homicide, criminality, victim relations, family members, forensic psychiatry, Psykiatri
National Category
Psychiatry
Research subject
Psychiatry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-298 (URN)91-7305-692-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-09-17, Sal B, Tandläkarhögskolan, NUS, Umeå, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2004-08-25 Created: 2004-08-25 Last updated: 2010-08-10Bibliographically approved

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