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Men with intellectual disabilities and sexual offending histories: an exploration of their experiences of living within a secure hospital setting
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-07-01, DOI: 10.1108/jidob-05-2021-0010
Stacey Heppell, John Rose

Purpose

There is a national drive to transform services for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID), to provide care within the community rather than hospital settings. However, there are limited community provisions for those with more complex care needs such as sexual offending. There has been limited research focussing on this client group’s experiences of inpatient services and the treatment they have received from their own perspective. This study aims to explore their experiences of living in a secure service focussing on treatment for sex offences.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 10 men with ID and sexual offending histories took part in an interview designed to explore their experiences of living within a secure hospital setting. The data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

Three key themes relating to the participants’ experiences within the hospital were identified. These were, namely, “hospital environment”, “personal journey through secure services” and “closeness to home”.

Practical implications

Men’s experiences at a secure hospital were generally positive in terms of a supportive staff approach. Difficulties existed around the hospital organisation affecting the support they received.

Originality/value

Some participants experienced a struggle to become more independent and move to less restrictive environments due to their perceived risk levels. Some participants found being away from home to be hard and longed to be closer to their families. Around half of the participants did not want to live near their hometown due to family difficulties, negative peer influences or fears of consequences for their sexual offending. Implications for community service planning are considered.