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There is undoubtedly a public preoccupation with violence in all its manifestations. However, there is considerable misunderstanding of the psychiatric aspects of violent and aggressive behaviour. First, the perception of violence perpetrated by the mentally disordered is often a mistaken one. In fact, there are relatively few incidents of violent behaviour due to those suffering from mental disorder, although much publicity attends any act of violence that is derived from these patients.
Secondly, even where the mentally disordered patient is the perpetrator of violence, the mental disorder, per se, is not usually the only causative factor. Mentally disordered patients, like everyone else, are subject to the forces of society, culture and personality and this fact must be appreciated if a clear understanding is to be achieved of the psychiatry of violence. Thus it is the primary purpose of this new book to set violent behaviour not only against a background of mental disorder but in relation to the social, cultural and personal pressures which can impinge on an individual who goes on to perpetrate violence.
The title is an invaluable guide for legal practitioners involved in criminal law and family/child law and also other professionals who work within situations where they are called upon to evaluate the risks of violent behaviour (eg social workers, children's guardians, probation officers, community workers/counsellors dealing with both offenders and victims, and those involved in making policy).