Victimization and Suicide

  • Lia AhonenEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Criminology book series (BRIEFSCRIMINOL)


This chapter discusses the relationship between mental illness and violent victimization, and suicide. While it is known that there is a weak to moderate association between certain types of mental illness and violence under very specific circumstances, there is a much stronger association between mental illness and suicide, and/or becoming a victim of violence. For example, following the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, homelessness has become a significant risk factor for victimization of the mentally ill. In some studies, people suffering from serious mental disorder were eleven times more likely to become a victim of violence as compared to the general population. There is no evidence to suggest that there are disorder-specific risk factors associated with victimization of mentally ill people; on the contrary, the relevant risk factors seem to be shared with the general population. In fact, mentally ill individuals are no more likely to use firearms to commit interpersonal violence than the general population. The primary argument to keep firearms from mentally ill, therefore, should be the strong association with suicide and self-harm. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion about some of the methodological challenges associated with violence and victim research.


Violence Mental illness Victimization Suicide Guns Risk factors 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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