Original Research

State patients who committed violent crimes and were admitted to Weskoppies Hospital from 2005 to 2014: Profiles and trends

Zukiswa T. Dewet, Carla Kotzé, Funeka Sokudela
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 26 | a1416 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v26i0.1416 | © 2020 Zukiswa T. Dewet, Carla Kotzé, Funeka Sokudela | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 June 2019 | Published: 02 November 2020

About the author(s)

Zukiswa T. Dewet, Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Carla Kotzé, Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Funeka Sokudela, Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Most of the available literature focus on characteristics of violent offenders and trends of crime patterns in the general population. The crime trends in the population of those who may be mentally ill have not been well described.

Aim: To describe the profiles and trends of mentally ill persons who committed violent crimes prior to admission as state patients.

Setting: The study was conducted at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.

Method: A retrospective record review of state patients admitted between 2005 and 2014 was conducted to describe demographic, clinical, forensic and victim profiles of state patients admitted from 2005 to 2014. Trends over time were also assessed.

Results: Hundred and seventy state patient files were reviewed. The majority were males (91.43%), with a history of substance use (55.0%) %), previous psychiatric treatment (46.4%), and diagnosed with a psychotic disorder (82.1%). The 10 year trend showed that murder was the leading charge during 2006 and 2007. It was surpassed by sexual assault crimes as the most common charge after 2007, except for 2009 when murder was again the most common. From 2010 onward, sexual assault remained the most common offence leading to admission as a state patient.

Conclusion: This study found changes over time in crime patterns of state patients who committed murder and sexual assault. State patients may have different criminal patterns than the general public. This together with the high rates of substance use and previous psychiatric treatment can be important focus areas for future research.


Keywords

state patients; violent crimes; trends; Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital; psychiatry treatmen

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