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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 58 (2016) 12, 846 - 853

New research

Ethnic differences in forensic psychiatry: an exploratory study at a Dutch forensic psychiatric centre

T. van der Stoep

background Compared to the percentage of ethnic minorities in the general population, ethnic minorities are overrepresented in forensic psychiatry. If these minorities are to be treated successfully, we need to know more about this group. So far, however, little is known about the differences between mental disorders and types of offences associated with patients of non-Dutch descent and those associated with patients of Dutch descent.
aim To take the first steps to obtain the information we need in order to provide customised care for patients of non-Dutch descent.
method It proved possible to identify differences between patients of Dutch and non-Dutch descent with regard to treatment, diagnosis and offences committed within a group of patients who were admitted to the forensic psychiatric centre Oostvaarderskliniek during the period 2001 - 2014.
results The treatment of patients of non-Dutch descent lasted longer than the treatment of patients of Dutch descent (8.5 year versus 6.6 year). Furthermore, patients from ethnic minority groups were diagnosed more often with schizophrenia (49.1% versus 21.4%), but less often with pervasive developmental disorders or sexual disorders. Patients of non-Dutch descent were more often convicted for sexual crimes where the victim was aged 16 years or older, whereas patients of Dutch descent were convicted of sexual crimes where the victim was under 16.
conclusion There are differences between patients of Dutch and non-Dutch descent with regard to treatment duration, diagnosis and offences they commit. Future research needs to investigate whether these results are representative for the entire field of forensic psychiatry and to discover the reasons for these differences.

keywords customised care, cultural differences forensic psychiatry, mandatory treatment order, non-Dutch descent