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Young people with learning disabilities who sexually harm others: the role of criminal justice within a multi-agency response

Fyson, Rachel

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Abstract

This paper outlines the key findings from a recent study of statutory service responses to young people with learning disabilities who show sexually inappropriate or abusive behaviours, with a particular focus on the involvement of criminal justice agencies. The study found that although inappropriate sexual behaviours were commonplace in special schools, and that serious acts of abuse including rape had sometimes occurred, education, welfare and criminal justice agencies struggled to work together effectively. In particular, staff often had difficulty in determining the point at which a sexually inappropriate behaviour warranted intervention. This problem was frequently compounded by a lack of appropriate therapeutic services. In many cases this meant that no intervention was made until the young person committed a sexual offence and the victim reported this to the police. As a consequence, young people with learning disabilities are being registered as sex offenders. The paper concludes by addressing some of the policy and practice implications of the study’s findings, particularly those which relate to criminal justice.

Citation

Fyson, R. (2007). Young people with learning disabilities who sexually harm others: the role of criminal justice within a multi-agency response. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2007
Deposit Date Jan 17, 2008
Publicly Available Date Jan 17, 2008
Journal British Journal of Learning Disabilities
Print ISSN 1354-4187
Electronic ISSN 1354-4187
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 3
Keywords learning disability; juvenile abuse; criminal justice; young offenders with learning disabilities; sexual offenders; inappropriate sexual behaviour
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/766
Publisher URL http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=1354-4187&site=1
Additional Information The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com

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