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A preliminary study of autism and cybercrime in the context of international law enforcement

Rebecca Ledingham (Centre for CyberSecurity, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.)
Richard Mills (Research Autism, London, United Kingdom AND Department of Psychology, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom AND CASD, Bond University, Queensland, Australia.)

Advances in Autism

ISSN: 2056-3868

Article publication date: 30 July 2015




The purpose of this paper is to explore the association of cybercrime, autistic spectrum conditions and international law enforcement, the past decade having seen a significant growth in reported cybercrimes involving autistic individuals.


Interest in the profile of autism and cybercrime and the pathways whereby such offences are committed is shared by key law-enforcement agencies worldwide. This was explored by literature review and survey.


The authors identified a presence of persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders but no empirical evidence to suggest a prevalence or an over representation of autistic individuals committing cybercrime offences. At present profiling, pathways, and recording is under developed.

Research limitations/implications

Paucity of literature on cybercrime and autism. Awareness of autism within law-enforcement agencies and the absence of key diagnostic and other data from the cross-section of agencies surveyed.

Practical implications

Improve detection, diversion, profiling, risk and pathways into cybercrime.

Social implications

Better prediction of risk of cybercrime and improved responses.


Original paper believed to be the first to look at cybercrime and ASD in the context of international law enforcement.



Ledingham, R. and Mills, R. (2015), "A preliminary study of autism and cybercrime in the context of international law enforcement", Advances in Autism, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 2-11.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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