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Clinical and criminal profile of internet offenders with ASD

Lorraine Higham (St Andrew's Healthcare, Birmingham, UK)
Alessandra Girardi (St Andrews Healthcare, Northampton, UK)
Holly Victoria Edwards (St Andrew's Healthcare, Birmingham, UK)

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2050-8824

Article publication date: 11 March 2021

Issue publication date: 19 July 2021

116

Abstract

Purpose

Autism-specific characteristics have been associated with internet criminal activities. Internet and non-internet offenders differ on a series of demographic, psychological and offending variables. However, the clinical and criminal presentation of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in forensic secure care settings has been underexplored. This paper aims to explore the profiles of internet offenders with ASD admitted to a secure psychiatric unit.

Design/methodology/approach

This study provides the results of a service evaluation of individuals with ASD. The demographic, clinical and criminal characteristics of a small sample of internet offenders with ASD admitted to secure care are described and discussed.

Findings

Internet offenders present in secure care with high rates of comorbid disorders, histories of violence and traumatic experiences, mood disorders and difficulties with relationships. Of the 24 internet offenders discussed, 18 of them committed an offence of a sexual nature involving children.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the potential risks for individuals with ASD in using the internet and the possible difficulties associated with detecting this because of rapid advancements in technology.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their thanks to everyone who helped them in gathering all the data required for this audit.

Citation

Higham, L., Girardi, A. and Edwards, H.V. (2021), "Clinical and criminal profile of internet offenders with ASD", Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 61-74. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIDOB-09-2020-0016

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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