Sex offender treatment programmes in learning disabilities should be continued for more than 12 months


Sex offender treatment programmes for men with learning disabilities who have perpetrated sex offences or inappropriate sexual behaviour have been show to have beneficial effects for in a number of studies. The authors of this study set out to look at the treatments and compare two groups – offenders against adults and offenders against children.

15 men who had offended against adult women and 15 who offended against children took part in the study, all treated for 36 months.

The researchers found significant improvements in both groups and scores reduced to levels consistent with non-offenders by 36
months. Re-offending across both groups was 23%.

They suggest that their findings show that sex offender treatment programmes produce significant reductions in cognitive distortions in sex offenders with learning disabilities and that treatment should be continued for longer than 12 months.

Comparing Offenders against Women and Offenders against Children on Treatment Outcome in Offenders with Intellectual Disability, Lindsay, W et al., in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 24: 361–369.

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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