An audit of investigations into allegations of abuse involving adults with intellectual disability

J Intellect Disabil Res. 2003 Nov;47(Pt 8):606-16. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2788.2003.00479.x.


Background: The present paper describes the results of an audit of referrals to a psychology service requesting specialist assistance in the investigation of allegations of abuse.

Methods: The referrals were over a 2-year period and case notes and records were reviewed to analyse the nature of the allegation, the characteristics of the victims or perpetrators, and the process of the investigation and its outcome.

Results: Twenty-six people were referred for investigation into allegations of sexual or physical abuse. The referrals were for assistance with an investigative interview (n = 12), capacity to give consent to a sexual relationship (n = 8) and competence to give evidence in court (n = 6). The referrals were all in relation to adults, covering a range of ages and degrees of intellectual disability.

Conclusions: The process of the investigations suggested that a number of barriers still exist which can make decision-making in relation to the alleged abuse extremely difficult. Resolution of the allegations through the criminal justice system was also problematic.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnosis*
  • Intellectual Disability / psychology
  • Interview, Psychological
  • London
  • Male
  • Mandatory Reporting* / ethics
  • Mental Competency / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Referral and Consultation / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sex Offenses / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Sex Offenses / prevention & control
  • Urban Population