Sexual offending and autism spectrum disorders

Clare Allely, Ann Attwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose - Studies have found innate vulnerabilities which potentially may increase the risk of an individual with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) finding themselves involved with the criminal justice system as a result of being charged with a sexual offence. The purpose of the present review is to evaluate the literature which has explored sexual offending in individuals with ASD. Design/methodology/approach - A systematic PRISMA review (PRISMA, Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) was conducted using internet-based bibliographic databases (PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection and PsycARTICLES) in order to access studies which investigated to any degree the association between ASD and sexual offending. Findings - Only a small number of case reports (N = 7) on sexual offending in individuals with ASD and a small number of prevalence studies (N = 7) were identified. Research limitations/implications - Research is urgently required to identify the specific requirements and needs of sexual offenders with ASD in order to inform an appropriate treatment strategy for successful outcomes. Originality/value - Relatively few studies and reviews have investigated the area of ASD and sexual offending specifically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-51
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2016


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