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Intellectually disabled victims of sexual abuse in the criminal justice system

 

Author(s) Niehaus, Susanna, Paula Kruger, and Seraina Caviezel Schmitz
Title Intellectually disabled victims of sexual abuse in the criminal justice system
Source Psychology, March 2013, No 3A, pp374-379
Date 2013
Document type Journal article
Coverage Switzerland, Germany, Austria
Summary This study examines the social perceptions and processes associated with adult intellectually disabled victims of sexual abuse among professional groups in the criminal justice system in Austria, Germany and German-speaking Switzerland. Professionals were surveyed through a written questionnaire and victims' perceptions and appraisals of proceedings were assessed with semi-structured interviews. The authors provide preliminary findings including analysis of the victims' interviews which indicates that investigating officers in the criminal justice system do not seem to adapt their procedures sufficiently to the needs of people with intellectual disabilities. The authors understand that sexual abuse proceedings are stressful for any victim but if the victim is intellectually disabled other aspects emerge such as the victim being more easily irritated or having difficulties recalling from memory. Numerous misconceptions about intellectually disabled victims of sexual abuse are identified, from representatives of the police and judiciary and, surprisingly, from service providers.
Keywords Intellectual disability; sexual abuse; criminal justice system; attitudes; perceptions; myths
Topic

Disability