(Reuters Health) - Having a mental illness makes people more vulnerable to becoming the victims of a crime, a recent analysis suggests.
Based on nationwide data from more than 2 million people in Denmark, researchers found that in the 10 years following a diagnosis with any psychiatric disorder, a man’s risk of being the victim of a crime that was reported to police rose by 50 percent. For women, the risk went up by 64 percent compared to women without mental illnesses.
The greatest increased danger was from violent crime: men’s risk of being a victim rose by 76 percent while women’s went up nearly three-fold, the study team reports in JAMA Psychiatry.
“This study confirms what we’ve known for a long time, which is that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims, not perpetrators of crime. Perpetrators choose victims who seem powerless and helpless,” said Dr. Renee Binder, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Psychiatry and the Law program at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School.
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