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Police and carers' views on reporting alleged offences by people with intellectual disabilities

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Evidence suggests that care staff have difficulty recognizing offending behaviour in adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) and that they are reluctant to report such behaviour to the police. Whilst there has been speculation as to why there may be such reluctance, there are no empirical studies. In this study, questionnaires using vignettes of fictitious crimes were completed by 80 care staff in residential homes and 65 police officers. The fictitious perpetrators in the vignettes were described either as non-disabled or as having ID. Care staff and police ratings of causal attributions and affect were compared, and the effect of perpetrator status (with or without ID) was also examined. The findings confirmed that care staff are still reluctant to report incidents by people with ID to the police. Carer and police views were generally in accord concerning perpetrators without ID but there were significant differences between groups rating perpetrators with ID.
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Keywords: Intellectual disability; care staff; offending; police

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Westbourne Unit, Scott Business Park, Plymouth, PL2 2PQ, UK 2: Institute for Health Research, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, LA1 4YT, UK

Publication date: 01 April 2006

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