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Clinical and criminal profile of internet offenders with ASD
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-03-11, DOI: 10.1108/jidob-09-2020-0016
Lorraine Higham, Alessandra Girardi, Holly Victoria Edwards

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.