According to the literature reviewed, although families living with a mentally ill relative often face violence, this issue has been little studied in nursing.
We conducted a qualitative research study to explore the experience of families dealing with this complex reality. We adopted Jacques Donzelot’s theory of the government of family as our theoretical framework and used grounded theory as our research methodology. In total, 14 participants who had been victims of violence perpetrated by relatives with severe mental illness were interviewed.
Qualitative analysis led to the identification of five themes: (a) medico-legal apparatus; (b) experience of violence; (c) the family’s responsibility toward the violent relative; (d) exclusion and stigmatisation; and (e) suffering and resilience. The present paper focuses on the study’s central theme: the family’s responsibility toward the violent relative.