Sexual Abuse of Children and Adults With Intellectual Disabilities: Preventive, Supportive, and Intervention Strategies for Clinical Practice

Sexual Abuse of Children and Adults With Intellectual Disabilities: Preventive, Supportive, and Intervention Strategies for Clinical Practice

Sanjeev Kumar Gupta (All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, India)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3958-2.ch014

Abstract

This chapter describes the incidence of sexual abuse is often reported in children and adults, but these incidences are not uncommon in the individual with intellectual disabilities (IDs). This heinous behavior carries a negative impact not only on the individual but also on their family. The purpose of the chapter is threefold, first is to present a brief review of the available literature on sexual abuse in children and adults with IDs, second is to discuss preventive, supportive and intervention strategies for clinical practice and third is to report a case series, where five cases are described. The intent is to provide mental health professionals and clinicians' information about consequences of sexual abuse and strategies for prevention and intervention. These strategies have clinical utility and can be incorporated while dealing individual with IDs and their parents or caregivers.
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Sexual Abuse In Children And Adults With Intellectual Disabilities

Research evidence suggested for the increased risk of sexual abuse for individuals with IDs. First of all, they may have a poor understanding of sexual issues (Healy, McGuire, Evans, & Carley, 2009; Isler, Tas, Beytut, & Conk, 2009), which may decrease their ability to understand and differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate sexual behavior (McGuire & Bayley, 2011). Even if they do recognize unwanted sexual advances, their limited cognitive abilities may prevent them from disclosing the abuse. Furthermore, some people who work with individuals with IDs may take advantage of this vulnerable population (Westcott & Jones, 1999). Poor understanding of the sexual contacts, inability to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate sexual behavior, and inability to disclosing the abuse may increase the risk of sexual abuse in the individual with IDs.

Sobsey and Varnhagen (1991) reported that sexual abuse of children and adults with IDs appear to occur at a higher rate than in people without an identified disability. McCarthy and Thompson (1997) studied the prevalence of sexual abuse of 65 women and 120 men with IDs who were referred for sex education. The prevalence rate of abuse was found to be significantly higher for women (61%) than men (25%).

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