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Prevalence of experiences of domestic violence among psychiatric patients: systematic review

  • S. Oram (a1), K. Trevillion (a2), G. Feder (a3) and L. M. Howard (a3)



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


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


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.


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.


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.

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Corresponding author

Louise M. Howard, Section of Women's Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, PO31, David Goldberg Centre, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK. Email:


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Joint first authors.

Declaration of interest

G.F. and L.M.H. are members of the World Health Organization Guideline Development Group on Policy and Practice Guidelines for Responding to Violence Against Women and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence/Social Care Institute for Excellence Guideline Development Group on Preventing and Reducing Domestic Violence.



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Prevalence of experiences of domestic violence among psychiatric patients: systematic review

  • S. Oram (a1), K. Trevillion (a2), G. Feder (a3) and L. M. Howard (a3)
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