The main aim of PreVio is to provide empirical knowledge on risk factor trajectories in criminially involved persons with mental illness and preventive opportunities at the intersection of criminal justice and mental health services. The project is a collaboration between Oslo University Hospital, the University of Oslo, the National Institute of Public Health, Oslo Police District and the Correctional Services.
Preventing violence is part of the societal mandate for criminal justice as well as the mental health services. Violent crime committed by persons with serious mental illness represents an area of shared responsibility between these societal sectors. In recent years, all of these sectors have reported increasing challenges related to their respective involvement in violence prevention among mentally ill persons. This has sparked both public concern and professional warnings about shortcomings in system coordination and cooperation. The reasons behind this disturbing development remain largely unknown, as longitudinal data suitable to investigate developmental trajectories of crime and mental illness has not yet been utilized.
PreVio aims to meet this knowledge need by applying a mixed-methods approach, combining two existing quantitative datasets with qualitative explorations of single cases (individual life histories). The quantitative datasets combine population-based registry data (ForenPsych, n˜ 8 mill) with clinical data from patients with/without violent crime records (sTOP, n ˜ 200). The research team will collaborate closely with experienced professionals from the police, the correctional service and the mental health services to make sure the research questions posed are relevant to the knowledge needs in the respective fields of practice. Further, PreVio has an international advisory group consisting of professional experts in criminology, psychiatric epidemiology, forensic research, and law, as well as stakeholder representatives.
Violent crime committed by persons with severe mental illness represent an area of shared responsibility between the criminal justice system and the health services, with interconnected challenges: fatal incidents perpetrated by persons with a known history of mental illness and violence, a considerable growth in police call outs to violent incidents involving persons with mental disorders, an increased number of patients convicted to involuntary mental health care, and reports from prisons unable to adequately care for mentally ill inmates. This has sparked both public concern and professional warnings about shortcomings in system coordination and cooperation. The reasons behind this disturbing development remain speculative/largely unknown. The current project aims to meet this knowledge need.
We propose a feasible cross-disciplinary mixed-methods study of the development and prevention of violent crime among persons with serious mental illness (PreVio) as a collaborative project involving the police, the correctional service and the mental health services. We will use quantitative data from two existing datasets including 1. a population-wide registry linkage with information on severe mental illness, violent crime and sociodemographic factors ( ForenPsych, N ˜8 mill) and 2. psychological characteristics and individual risk and protective factors from violent offenders with or without psychosis (sTOP n˜200), to map developmental trajectories and risk factors both on the societal and individual level. We will then use a novel approach with qualitative explorations of single cases to identify critical time points and areas for targeted preventive interventions.
Through multidisciplinary research by experts in epidemiology, forensic and clinical psychiatry, criminology, sociology, and law, in close and continuous cooperation with experienced practitioners in the field, the results can impact both crime prevention and the promotion of community safety.