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As recently highlighted by Creaby-Attwood and Allely (2017), it is crucial that the possible innate vulnerabilities that contributed to sexual offending behaviour in an individual with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are taken into consideration for the application of a diversion programme to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction or during sentencing for a non-custodial outcome. Specifically, in those defendants with a diagnosis of what used to be referred to as Asperger’s syndrome (AS) and now is recognised as an ASD and who are charged and convicted of a non-contact sexual offense, education and mental health intervention will best serve the interests of justice. The paper aims to discuss this issue.Design/methodology/approachThis paper focusses on one particular type of sexual offending behaviour, namely, possession of child pornography. A systematic PRISMA review was conducted.FindingsThe authors linked examples of child pornography in the research literature to the ASD symptomology and describe how the symptomology explains such behaviour as not reflecting actual sexual deviance.Originality/valueDownloading and viewing of child pornography by individuals with ASD has received relatively little research outside the mental health field. This review is of particular importance to those in the criminal justice system who may not have much knowledge and understanding of ASD. It is suggested that diversion programmes and mental health courts should be set up for this particular population charged with this particular crime in mind so that the necessary treatment/intervention/support and care can be given to this particular group.
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 29, 2018
Keywords: Autism; Sentencing; Aspergers; Child exploitative material; Child pornography; Pre-trial diversion
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