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Men with intellectual disabilities with a history of sexual offending: empathy for victims of sexual and non-sexual crimes

Hockley, O.J., Langdon, Peter E. (2015) Men with intellectual disabilities with a history of sexual offending: empathy for victims of sexual and non-sexual crimes. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59 (4). pp. 332-341. ISSN 0964-2633. (doi:10.1111/jir.12137) (KAR id:38489)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jir.12137

Abstract

Background: The objectives were (a) to compare the general empathy abilities of men with intellectual disabilities (IDs) who had a history of sexual offending to men with IDs who had no known history of illegal behaviour, and (b) to determine whether men with IDs who had a history of sexual offending had different levels of specific victim empathy towards their own victim, in comparison to an unknown victim of sexual crime, and a victim of non-sexual crime, and make comparison to non-offenders.

Methods: Men with mild IDs (N = 35) were asked to complete a measure of general empathy and a measure of specific victim empathy. All participants completed the victim empathy measure in relation to a hypothetical victim of a sexual offence, and a non-sexual crime, while additionally, men with a history of sexual offending were asked to complete this measure in relation to their own most recent victim.

Results: Men with a history of sexual offending had significantly lower general empathy, and specific victim empathy towards an unknown sexual offence victim, than men with no known history of illegal behaviour. Men with a history of sexual offending had significantly lower victim empathy for their own victim than for an unknown sexual offence victim. Victim empathy towards an unknown victim of a non-sexual crime did not differ significantly between the two groups.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that it is important include interventions within treatment programmes that attempt to improve empathy and perspective-taking.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/jir.12137
Uncontrolled keywords: learning disabilities; sexual offending; empathy; offence process; sex offenders; neurodevelopmental disorder; forensic mental health
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Peter Langdon
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2014 09:06 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 12:51 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/38489 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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