Two in five women suffering from severe mental illnesses are victims of sexual assaults, a new study published in the journal Psychological Medicine reveals.
The study was conducted by researchers at University College London and King's College London who conducted interviews of around 300 psychiatric patients and compared their responses with those of more than 22,000 people who were part of the 2011/12 national crime survey.
The researchers found that around 40 percent of the women with mental illnesses were victims of serious sexual assault, such as rapes of attempted rape, compared to just over seven percent of general population. Sexual assaults among men with mental illnesses were also more common at 12 percent compared to 0.5 percent of the general population.
"This study highlights that patients with severe mental illness are at substantially increased risk of being a victim of domestic and sexual violence. Despite the public's concern about violence being perpetrated by patients with severe mental illness, the reality for patients is that they are at increased risk of being victims of some of the most damaging types of violence", senir author of the study, Louise Howard said.