MEN who are alcoholics and drug addicts are more likely to beat up their wives and girlfriends, an Oxford study has found.

The researcher found that most mental disorders create an increased risk of violence against women, but that men with substance use problems pose the biggest threat.

They have now recommended that governments and charities dealing with violence against women should focus their attentions on men with substance abuse problems.

The Oxford University team studied data for 140,000 men from Sweden from between 1998 and 2013.

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Setting out their aims in a paper published last week they said that, although mental disorders have long been linked to violence against women, they wanted to find out more.

Using Swedish nationwide registries, they identified men from nine mental health diagnostic groups over 1998–2013, with sample sizes ranging from 9,529 with autism to 88,182 with depressive disorder.

Explaining their results the researchers wrote: "We identified men with common psychiatric disorders from a population-based sample, and compared their risk of violence against women with that of age- and sex-matched general population controls, and also with that of their unaffected siblings to account for possible confounding familial factors.

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"The absolute rate of violence against women ranged from 0.1 per cent for men with autism to 2.1 per cent for men with drug use disorders.

"Most of the studied mental disorders were associated with a higher risk of violence against women. The risk increase was two-to-eight times compared with the general population and two-to-four-fold compared with unaffected siblings."

The highest absolute rates and relative risks for violence were found in men with substance use disorders.

Domestic abuse help in Oxfordshire

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