The purpose of this paper is to explore the characteristics of adults with intellectual disabilities supported by a Community Forensic Learning Disability Team (CFT) and interventions delivered. It discusses the clinical implications of these and examines outcomes such as recidivism.
A retrospective case note review of all 70 service users open to the CFT during June 2013 was carried out, using a structured service evaluation tool.
The majority of service users (74.3 per cent) had a mild intellectual disability. Multiple mental health and/or physical health diagnoses were common, and 28 per cent had problematic drug or alcohol abuse. Almost half of service users had been victims of physical or sexual abuse, or neglect. Sexual offences were the most common index offence, followed by assault and fire-setting. A wide range of multi-disciplinary interventions were delivered within the Community Forensic Team. Following CFT involvement there was an increase in service users living in supported living in the community and a decrease in people in secure or out of area placements. Over half of service users engaged in no further offending behaviour since their referral, and those who did offend generally showed a decrease in the severity of offending behaviours. There was a large decrease in the number of convictions received.
The study shows the benefits of a multi-disciplinary Community Forensic Team for offenders with intellectual disabilities in terms of reduced recidivism and range of interventions delivered. It highlights the importance of clinicians within such a team having the skills to work with people with co-morbid diagnoses (e.g. autism) and people with trauma backgrounds and problematic substance use.
This paper demonstrates the complexity of the service users who are supported by the CFT, as well as the integral role played in supporting individuals to move to less restrictive settings, with positive outcomes.
No sources of external research funding. Many thanks to Carl Benton and Dr Farooq Ahmad for their comments on this paper.
Browning, M., Gray, R. and Tomlins, R. (2016), "A community forensic team for people with intellectual disabilities", The Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 274-282. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-02-2016-0012Download as .RIS
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