The contributory role of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptomology in offending behaviour

Allely, Clare (2019) The contributory role of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptomology in offending behaviour. [Report]

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    Abstract

    The majority of individuals with ASD are law-abiding (Murphy, 2017, King & Murphy, 2014). However, research has shown how ASD symptomology can contribute to various types of offending behaviour, with those behaviours most associated with ASD including violent behaviour, sexual offending, fire setting/arson, obsessive harassment (stalking), and cyber-crimes (e.g. Baron-Cohen, 1988; Everall & Lecouteur, 1990; Schwartz-Watts, 2005; Mouridsen et al., 2008; Ledingham & Mills, 2015; Allely and Creaby-Attwood, 2016). There is much debate about whether individuals with ASD should be treated exactly the same as the general population in the criminal justice system as currently happens (e.g., Hayes, 2016). As highlighted in the paper by Hayes (2016), not every offence which is committed by someone with ASD is due to their disorder. There are cases involving individuals who have engaged in offending behaviour which have been intentional and voluntary criminal acts (Freckelton, 2013; Berryessa, 2014). The difficulty is trying to identify whether ASD symptomology did in fact contribute or not to the offending behaviour on a case-by-case basis (see also, Allely & Cooper, 2017; Cooper & Allely, 2017).