People with intellectual disabilities in criminal justice settings

Dr Fergus Douds, Dr Jana de Villiers and Ms Jane Macer

60 minutes


February 2023

CPD learning module

CPD domain:
Clinical, Professional

People with intellectual disabilities in a criminal justice setting.jpg

This module is aimed at psychiatrists with limited experience working with people with intellectual disability (ID). Assessment and treatment in forensic settings for this patient group can be challenging.

Intellectual disability is associated with significantly increased rates of co-occurring physical and mental health conditions; a knowledge and awareness of both is important with regard to assessment and treatment. When assessing someone with ID, it is important to take account of communication and sensory impairments, which have a high prevalence. Various features of criminal justice processes affect the ability of people with ID to fully participate.


The module aims to:

• provide an overview of common presentations in people with ID

• highlight specific issues relevant to people with ID in forensic settings

• provide guidance of effective communication, particularly during initial assessment.



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