Violent women: a multicentre study of the characteristics of female forensic psychiatric patients
background Violence perpetrated by women has attracted more and more attention in the past few years. However, there is lack of background information about women admitted to forensic psychiatric hospitals and about risk factors for recidivism.
aim To conduct a multicenter study which will give more insight into female psychiatric patients and which will probably have implications for psychodiagnostics, risk assessment and treatment in (forensic) psychiatric settings.
method We coded the files of 297 women who, between 1984 and 2013, had been admitted to one of four Dutch forensic psychiatric facilities by reason of violent delinquent behaviour. We used an extensive coding list and several risk assessment tools including the recently developed Female Additional Manual (fam) for women.
results The general picture that emerged was one of severely traumatised women with complex pathology and a high level of comorbidity. Many of the women had experienced previous treatment failures and had caused many incidents during treatment.
conclusion Female forensic psychiatric patients are a complex group that deserves more specific attention. Attention for traumas from the past, intensive supervision in relationships and training for staff in dealing with, for instance, manipulative behaviour are the most important implications from this study.