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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 54 (2012) 6, 509 - 516

New research

Homicide committed by psychotic defendants in the Netherlands

M.C.A. Liem, D.J. Vinkers

 Summary
background
Psychotic patients are 10 to 20 times more likely to commit homicide than persons in the general population. Internationally, the incidence of homicides committed by psychotic defendants is 0.02-0.36 per 100.000 inhabitants. So far, no-one has determined the nature and incidence of homicide by individuals with a psychotic disorder in the Netherlands.
aim To describe the nature and incidence of homicides committed by people with a psychotic disorder in the Netherlands in the period 2000-2006.
method We analysed the forensic mental health reports of all Dutch nationals suspected of committing homicide and found to be suffering from a psychotic disorder at the time of the offence.
results According to the mental health reports, in the period under study 61 homicides were committed by people with a psychotic illness (8.7 annually), the average rate being 0.05 per 100,000. The majority of suspects did not have a violent criminal past and were not receiving treatment at the time of the crime.
conclusion Homicide committed by psychotic patients is relatively rare in the Netherlands, but it does occur. Early, continuous treatment of psychotic illness might help to prevent patients with a psychotic disorder from committing homicide.

keywords forensic psychiatry, psychosis, violence