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Understanding, Assessing, and Rehabilitating Juvenile Sexual Offenders
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Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities
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Vol. XXIII, No. 3
Summer 2011
Book Review:
Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities


Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities:
A Handbook

Craig, L.A., Lindsay, W.R., Browne, K.D. (2010)

Wiley Publishing, 375 pages


With another timely publication on assessment and treatment of sexual offenders, in this instance focusing on intellectually disabled individuals, the authors provide a helpful, companion volume to Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Offenders: A Handbook (Beech, Craig & Browne, 2009).  While earlier books (Blasingame, 2005; Haaven, Little & Petre-Miller, 1990; Lindsay, Taylor & Sturmey, 2004) have advanced evaluation and intervention work with sexual offenders who have intellectual disabilities, this publication pursues that aim more thoroughly than any book of its kind in print today.  Leam Craig, William Lindsay, and Kevin Browne address both clinical and forensic issues, as well as provide a comprehensive review of the literature, in a way that will greatly assist researchers and practitioners in this area.  As a work in progress in a developing field, this book is an information cornucopia teeming with ideas and asking relevant questions throughout. It will interest newcomers to the field while offering more  seasoned readers an opportunity to examine these issues and further advance their knowledge in work with intellectually disabled sexual offenders.

The chapter authors are recognised experts in working with sex offenders who have intellectual disabilities.  Part One of the book develops a broad understanding of characteristics and prevalence of sexual offending amongst the intellectually disabled.  Developmental pathways are explored in a chapter by Susan Hayes together with the application of a self regulation model with sex offenders with intellectual disabilities by Lynne Eccleston, Tony Ward, and Barry Waterman.  Issues arising in relation to family offending by adolescent with intellectual disabilities are also addressed before the book proceeds to look more closely at clinical forensic issues concerning diagnostic assessment and co-morbidity.  This part of the book focuses on variables such as psychiatric illness, pervasive developmental challenges, and sexual identity disorders and their impact on risk in people with intellectual disabilities.  Helpful case examples provide guidance and emphasize a need for caution when making diagnostic judgements with this population. 

Part Three explores risk assessment, with William Lindsay and John Taylor examining recidivism rates and Catrin Morrissey focusing on the impact of assessed personality disorders in sexual offenders with intellectual disabilities.  Douglas Boer and his colleagues suggest important potential adaptations of measures frequently used with mainstream offenders (e.g. the HCR-20 and the SVR-20) for use with offenders with have intellectual disabilities. 

Part Four concentrates on the use of psychometric measures of sexual deviance on offenders with intellectual disabilities, as well as evaluating treatment needs in this population.  Part Five focuses on treatment issues examining both community and prison based intervention programmes for sex offenders with intellectual disabilities.  A helpful chapter by Shawn Mosher considers specific challenges with regard to staff support and development in this area of treatment. Marleen Verhoeven explores the potential merit in employing DBT with intellectually disabled offenders to reduce emotional and behavioural dysregulation and to improve therapeutic receptivity.  The book closes with a chapter by Hannah Ford and John Rose considering future directions for managing and treating intellectually disabled sex offenders more effectively.  They describe the need for improved education and training for staff and carers, together with increased efforts to access additional resources to develop treatment approaches and monitor outcomes of treatment more consistently. 

Craig, Lindsay, and Browne’s book is essential reading for anyone wishing to responsibly develop or evaluate work with sexual offenders who have intellectual disabilities.  It is an informative–yet readable–volume offering an honest appraisal of an emerging field.


Beech, A.R., Craig, L.A., & Browne, K.D. (Eds) (2009). Assessment and treatment of sex offenders: handbook. Chichester, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Blasingame, G. (2005). Developmentally disabled persons with sexual behaviour problems: treatment, management and supervision, 2nd edn. Woods and Barnes Publishing, Oklahoma City.

Haaven, J., Little,R. & Petre-Miller, D. (1990). Treating intellectually disabled sex offenders. Orwell VT: Safer Society Press.

Lindsay, W.R., Taylor, J.L., & Sturmey, P., (Eds) (2004), Offenders with developmental disabilities.  Chichester, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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