A Comparison of Referrals With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder to Forensic Intellectual Disability Services

William R. Lindsay*, Derek Carson, Gregory O'Brien, Anthony J. Holland, John L. Taylor, Jessica Ruth Wheeler, Lesley Steptoe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Although some authors have suggested that there are higher rates of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in forensic and offending groups, systematic studies have not supported the hypothesis. The present study reviewed 477 referrals made to forensic intellectual disability (ID) services in one calendar year. It was found that 10% of referrals had ASD, a figure similar to the general population of people with ID. Those with ASD had similar patterns of offending to those without but they showed a lower prevalence of contact sexual offences and fewer had been previously charged. We concluded that there is no persuasive evidence that ASD is a risk factor for offending or for any particular type of offending.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-954
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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