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Understanding how sexual offenders compare across psychiatric and correctional settings: examination of Canadian mentally ill sexual offenders

Heather M. Moulden, Gary Chaimowitz, Mini Mamak & Janelle Hawes
Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice


Much of what is known about sexual offenders is based on correctional samples and then applied across settings based on the assumption that this group is homogeneous. In this study, 149 files were compared, including 108 cases from the forensic mental health system (FMH) and 41 cases from the correctional system (COR). Although many similarities were observed between the FMH and COR groups, the results also revealed important differences. The FMH group was characterised by more frequent hospitalisations, higher rates of major mental illness and single status. The COR group was characterised by a history of physical and sexual abuse, family history of addictions, more intrusive sexual offences and higher rates of offending. These results highlight different profiles for sexual offenders in forensic mental health and correctional settings and challenge us to consider the implications for assessment, treatment and risk management of this unique group of sexual offenders.



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