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Title: Police and carers' beliefs about learning disabled offenders
Author: McBrien, Judith Ann
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2001
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Evidence suggests that care staff have difficulty recognising offending behaviour (Thompson and Brown, 1997) and are reluctant to report it to the police (Lyall, Holland and Collins, 1995). Whilst there has been speculation as to why there may be such reluctance, there are no empirical studies. Potential reasons for not reporting include supposition about what the police might do. The study of causal attributions by care staff of challenging behaviour in people with learning disabilities has proved fruitful. Such an approach could elucidate the thinking behind care staff and police views of reporting crime and its consequences. The present study set out to replicate the finding of reluctance to report and extend it by testing some of the speculative reasons given in the literature, comparing care staff and police, including ratings of causal attributions and affect. Comparisons were made throughout according to perpetrator status (with or without learning disability). The accuracy of each staff group’s perceptions of the other group’s attributions and affect was also assessed. Questionnaires using vignettes of three fictitious crimes (assault, rape and minor theft) by people with and without learning disabilities were completed by 80 care staff in residential homes and 65 police officers working in the same city. Findings suggested that care staff are less reluctant to report incidents to police than found by Lyall et al (1995). On the whole carers and police views were in accord concerning perpetrators without learning disabilities but there were significant differences between groups rating perpetrators with learning disabilities, particularly for the two more serious crimes. Limitations to the study and its implications for practice and future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available