Prevalence of experiences of domestic violence among psychiatric patients: systematic review [Review articles]

British Journal of Psychiatry

Background

Domestic violence has been linked with many mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and psychosis.

Aims

To estimate the prevalence (adult lifetime and past year) of different types of domestic violence experienced by men and women receiving psychiatric treatment.

Method

In a systematic review, a search of 18 electronic databases was supplemented by hand searching, citation tracking and updating a recent systematic review of criminal victimisation in psychiatric populations. Two reviewers independently extracted data and appraised study quality.

Results

Forty-two studies were included. The median prevalence of lifetime partner violence reported in high-quality papers was 30% (interquartile range (IQR) 26–39) among female in-patients and 33% (IQR 21–53) among female out-patients. Among male patients, one high-quality study reported a lifetime prevalence of 32% across mixed psychiatric settings. No study included a control group.

Conclusions

Psychiatric patients experience a high prevalence of domestic violence but there is limited information on family (non-partner) domestic violence, the prevalence of emotional abuse and the extent of risk compared with non-psychiatric controls.