A study published today in the journal Psychological Medicine revealed staggering statistics regarding women who suffer from severe mental illness: They are five times more likely to be victims of sexual assault.

Over 300 psychiatric outpatients were given the British Crime Survey questionnaire for domestic and sexual violence, and researchers compared their reported answers to those from the over 20,000 respondents taking a national crime survey in 2011. The latter responses were adjusted for factors, like age, ethnicity, and marital status. The results showed 40 percent of women diagnosed with severe mental illness were raped, had been attempted to be rape, while 53 percent of those same women attempted suicide.

As for cases of domestic violence, 69 percent of women were victims compared to 49 percent of men. To put those numbers in perspective, seven percent of women and 0.5 percent of men are sexually assaulted out of the general population. And there’s a 30 percent difference between the domestic violence cases among the mentally ill (63 percent) and general population (35 percent).

"This study highlights that patients with severe mental illness are at substantially increased risk of being a victim of domestic and sexual violence,” Louise Howard, study co-author and a professor in women’s mental health at King's College London, said in a press release. “Despite the public's concern about violence being perpetrated by patients with severe mental illness, the reality for patients is that they are at increased risk of being victims of some of the most damaging types of violence."

This study defined sexual violence as a perpetrator who exposed himself indecently, touched a woman sexually without her consent, and committed rape. Domestic violence was defined as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse perpetrated by a partner or family member.

Despite finding a strong association between mental illness and sexual and domestic violence, researchers are uncertain of causality. Some men and women experience onset of mental illness post-violence, but 10 percent of those surveyed experienced sexual assault within the last year. This means it was after they were diagnosed.

“Considering the high rate of suicide attempts among rape victims in this group, clinicians assessing people after a suicide attempt should consider asking them if they have been sexually assaulted,” Dr. Hind Khalifeh, lead study author of the University College London’s Division of Psychiatry, also said in the press release. “Currently this is not done and so patients may miss opportunities to receive specialist support.”