New research from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, in collaboration with the University of Bristol published in the open access peer reviewed journal Public Library of Science on December 26, 2012, is the first study to look at a wide range of mental health problems in both men and women and the relationship to the incidence of domestic violence.
“Compared to women without mental health problems, women with depressive disorders were around 2 and a ½ times more likely to have experienced domestic violence over their adult lifetime (prevalence estimate 45.8%); women with anxiety disorders were over 3 and a ½ times more likely (prevalence estimate 27.6%); and women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were around 7 times more likely (prevalence estimate 61.0%).”
“Women with other disorders including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, common mental health problems, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were also at an increased risk of domestic violence compared to women without mental health problems. Men with all types of mental disorders were also at an increased risk of domestic violence. However, prevalence estimates for men were lower than those for women, indicating that it is less common for men to be victims of repeated severe domestic violence.”
The intent of the research is to promote more attention to the effects of domestic violence and mental illness. The researchers do not account directly for the mentally ill person being the initiator of domestic violence or the victim.
The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center reports that 23,472 domestic simple assaults were reported in 2011 and that 79% of the victims were females, and 21% were males. 46% of the victims were black, and 54% were white. A firearm was used in 16% of the offenses; hands, fists or feet were used as a weapon in 48%; a knife was the weapon used in 20%; and other dangerous weapons were used in 16%. No data on the correlation with mental illness was recorded.
Experiences of Domestic Violence and Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Kylee Trevillion, Siân Oram, Louise M. Howard Section of Women’s Mental Health, Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom, Gene Feder Centre for Academic Primary Care, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Clifton, Bristol, United Kingdom