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Controversies in assessing risk and deviancy in sex offenders with intellectual disabilities

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While the literature on the assessment, treatment and management of non-intellectual disabled sex offenders is well established, it is only in recent years that researchers and clinicians have focused on sex offenders with intellectual disability (ID). This article focuses on two areas: the assessment of risk and recidivism, and the assessment of sexual deviancy in sex offenders with ID. The first part of this article reviews the literature on the assessment of sexual offence recidivism risk for sex offenders with ID. Static and dynamic risk factors associated with sexual recidivism risk in sex offenders with ID are identified and the use of actuarial risk assessment scales and structured risk assessment systems with this client group are considered. The second part of this article discusses difficulties associated with the assessment of sexual deviancy in sex offenders with ID. An alternative approach to assessing deviancy is considered where deviant behaviour is compared against a four-group continuum of normal to deviant sexual behaviour in terms of developmental and chronological levels. From the literature a number of suggestions are made regarding the assessment of risk and sexual deviancy with this client group.

Keywords: actuarial risk assessment; sex offenders with intellectual disability; static and dynamic risk

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Forensic Psychology Practice Ltd, The Willows Clinic, UK,Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology, University of Birmingham, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2010


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