Objective: Staff in intellectual disability (ID) services are often reluctant to
report alleged sexual offending by service-users to the police. Topography
of the event as well as intrinsic cognitive and emotional responses of staff
are factors which might influence staff decisions in such circumstances.
This study aims to explore factors associated with staff willingness to report
allegations of sexual offending by service users. Method: Data were collected
from 126 participants via self-report questionnaires and were analysed using
both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Results: The majority of
participants (66%) indicated that they would be willing to report such an event
to the Gardaí. Although low levels of reluctance to report were found, 43% of
participants stated that they would require 100% certainty that a service user
was guilty of a sexual offence before reporting it to the Gardaí. Conclusion:
In scenarios where a service user had an ID, a mental health diagnosis, and a
history of inappropriate sexualised behaviour, ID service staff were significantly
more likely to report an incident of alleged sexual assault than when a mental
health diagnosis was absent.