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Prevalence and risk of sexual violence victimization among mental health service users: a systematic review and meta-analyses.

PURPOSE: People with mental disorders are more likely to experience sexual violence than the general population, but little is known about the prevalence of sexual violence in people who use psychiatric services. This paper aims to estimate the prevalence and odds of sexual violence victimisation within mental health services by gender and mental health setting (i.e. inpatient, outpatient and mixed settings).

METHODS: This study is a systematic review and meta-analysis (PROSPERO registration number: CRD4201810019). Three databases (Medline, Embase, PsychINFO) were searched and citation tracking, and reference screening of included studies was conducted. Studies were included if the prevalence and/or risk of sexual violence in psychiatric service users were reported or calculable across the past year or adult lifetime. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed. A random effects meta-analyses was conducted to estimate odds ratios and pooled prevalence estimates of sexual violence in different mental health settings.

RESULTS: Twenty-six studies were included encompassing 197,194 participants. The meta-analyses revealed high pooled prevalence estimates and increased odds of sexual violence victimisation in male and female psychiatric service users compared to non-psychiatric service users.

CONCLUSIONS: Mental health practitioners should be trained to respond effectively to disclosures of sexual violence, particularly from these vulnerable groups. Future sexual violence interventions should consider mental health as a treatment outcome.

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