During the period 23.11.1987-22.11.1989, a total of 7,906 patients attended the psychiatric outpatient department and observation section on 12,469 occasions. Sixty patients (0.8%) behaved violently on 85 occasions. None of these episodes of violence resulted in injuries to persons requiring medical attention. 90% of the violent patients were men and 70% were in the age group 20-39 years. Approximately 1/5 were psychotic and, of these, approximately half suffered from schizophrenia. Comparison with the non-violent patient revealed that the probability of violence was greater if the patient was a man under the influence of alcohol and who had the diagnoses of narcomania, drug abuse or personality disorders. Significantly fewer violent patients were admitted than non-violent patients. Over 80% of the violent patients had previously been admitted to psychiatric departments. Approximately 60% had behaved violently on previous consultations with the psychiatric outpatient department.