W. R. Lindsay, S. F. Elliot, A. Astell



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Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

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Background The extensive research on prediction of risk in offenders has developed a number of reliable static risk predictors. There is also a developing body of work on proximal, dynamic risk factors and their importance in predicting violent and sexual offending. Although this work has not been done specifically on offenders with intellectual disabilities, there is some preliminary evidence that it is equally relevant in this field. The current study extends this work. Method Fifty-two sexual offenders and abusers were included as participants and 18 of them had re-offended or were strongly suspected of having re-offended. A checklist of static and dynamic factors were derived from the literature and clinical experience and a retrospective, correlational method was employed. Two respondents provided information on the presence or absence of each variable and this information was checked through extensive case records. These variables were correlated with re-offending and suspicion of re-offending. Results Several variables correlated significantly with the two dependent variables and a standard multiple regression investigated the predictive quality of each independent variable. Significant variables were allowances made by staff, antisocial attitude, poor relationship with mother, denial of crime, sexual abuse in childhood, erratic attendance and poor response to treatment. Certain variables, found significant in earlier studies, did not emerge in the current analysis. These predictors accounted for around 53% of the variance for evidence of re-offending and around 74% of the variance for suspicion of re-offending. Conclusions The variables which emerge are similar to those found in the mainstream offender literature. Some hypotheses are presented on why certain variables did not emerge. Like other similar studies, the results should be treated with caution because of retrospective bias.