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Schizophrenia: Warning Signs of Violence

British Columbia Specific Information

Physical, verbal, or sexual abuse at any time, at any age, or in any relationship is not ok.

Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number if you or someone you know is in immediate danger from assault or abuse. To speak to someone confidentially and to get more information, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1  (or 7-1-1 for the deaf and hard of hearing) or contact one of the services below.

  • Helpline for Children
    If a child anywhere in B.C. needs help, call the Helpline at 310-1234 any time of the day or night to speak to a social worker, no area code is needed. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call 1-866-660-0505 for TTY services. This is a toll-free service, and there is no charge to call the operator if you need to call from a pay phone. This helpline is available for children, parents, and other community members to report abuse. For more information, visit Reporting Child Abuse in BC.
  • Kids Help Phone
    Children and teens can call the Kids Help Phone to speak to a counsellor day or night at 1-800-668-6868. Counsellors are available to speak to anonymously about concerns with abuse and can help children and teens call the police or child protective services. For more information about the resources and support available visit Kids Help Phone.
  • VictimLink BC
    If you or someone you know are a victim of crime and need more information or support, call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 for toll-free, confidential, multilingual service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, visit VictimLink BC.
  • Seniors Abuse & Information Line
    If you are an older adult who has been abused or mistreated call the Seniors Abuse & Information Line (SAIL) at 604-437-1940 or toll free at 1-866-437-1940, 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., to get a referral to their legal advocate and other programs. For more information about their programs and resources visit Seniors First BC.

Topic Overview

While most people with schizophrenia are not violent, violence is one of the reasons someone who has schizophrenia may need hospitalization. It is a way to protect the person or those around him or her until the delusions or hallucinations often associated with the violence pass.

Common signs that can indicate someone with schizophrenia may become violent include:

  • Talking about violence, especially when directed toward specific people or groups of people (such as past co-workers) or places, such as churches or government buildings.
  • Talking, writing, or drawing about death and violence.
  • Having unexplained mood changes or behaving aggressively or violently. Aggressive acts may include teasing and taunting other people by calling them names; threatening, making fun of, or playing mind games with other people; or making threatening phone calls.
  • Buying or talking about having weapons or other means, such as poisons, that could hurt or kill people.
  • Not taking responsibility for his or her actions or saying that the actions are justified because of how he or she has been treated.
  • Drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs more frequently.
  • Increased fears of other people (paranoia).
  • Telling someone that he or she hears voices telling him or her to hurt or kill another person.

Credits

Current as of:
September 23, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Lisa S. Weinstock MD - Psychiatry
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health