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Offence Process of Sex Offenders With Intellectual Disabilities: A Qualitative Study

NCJ Number
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2006 Pages: 169-191
Jude Courtney; John Rose; Oliver Mason
Date Published
April 2006
23 pages
This study identified any common factors in the commission of sexual offenses by men with intellectual disabilities.
The findings suggest that a treatment program for intellectually disabled sex offenders should include information about the various elements of the offense process that stems from a detailed analysis of their beliefs and attitudes and their link to behaviors. Group work should be enhanced with individual counseling. The study found that stereotypes of child-like sexual experimentation by such offenders with a victim of similar mental age or impulsive, uncontrolled sexual behavior were too simplistic for intellectual disabled sexual offenders. Although these elements may be present in some sexual offenses by such offenders, there can also be sophisticated and planned offending. Another finding was that few of the men perceived a "decency insult" in their behavior, as they were unable to understand or accept society's normative view of the harmful consequences of their behavior for victims. Because this characteristic is apparently common to all sex offenders, whether it is more dominant in sex offenders with intellectual disabilities requires further comparative research. Only one variable apparently clearly distinguished sex offenders with intellectual disabilities from their nondisabled counterparts. This was lack of knowledge about sexual behavior and lack of skill in managing their sexual impulses and behavior. The study interviewed nine male sex offenders with intellectual disabilities about their experiences in the course of committing their offenses. Participants were from one residential and one community-based program. All were Caucasians ages 20-62, with IQs that ranged from 53 to 77. Workers were interviewed about their clients, the treatment that had been undertaken, and their opinions about the offense process of men with learning disabilities. 3 tables, 1 figure, and 44 references