The results of a survey of pretrial examination cases admitted to the provincial psychiatric hospital in Saskatchewan from 1966 to 1975 are reported. The demographic and psychiatric data and data from the psychiatric reports to the Court are analyzed. Some deficiencies noted in the reports to the Court are discussed and some remedial measures are suggested.
There are at least two different criteria for assessing pedophilia in men: absolute ascertainment (their sexual interest in children is intense) and relative ascertainment (their sexual interest in children is greater than their interest in adults). The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition (DSM-III) used relative ascertainment in its diagnostic criteria for pedophilia; this was abandoned and replaced by absolute ascertainment in the DSM-III-R and all subsequent editions. The present study was conducted to demonstrate the continuing need for relative ascertainment, particularly in the laboratory assessment of pedophilia. A total of 402 heterosexual men were selected from a database of patients referred to a specialty clinic. These had undergone phallometric testing, a psychophysiological procedure in which their penile blood volume was monitored while they were presented with a standardized set of laboratory stimuli depicting male and female children, pubescents, and adults.The 130 men selected for the Teleiophilic Profile group responded substantially to prepubescent girls but even more to adult women; the 272 men selected for the Pedophilic Profile group responded weakly to prepubescent girls but even less to adult women. In terms of absolute magnitude, every patient in the Pedophilic Profile group had a lesser penile response to prepubescent girls than every patient in the Teleiophilic Profile group. Nevertheless, the Pedophilic Profile group had a significantly greater number of known sexual offenses against prepubescent girls, indicating that they contained a higher proportion of true pedophiles. These results dramatically demonstrate the utility-or perhaps necessity-of relative ascertainment in the laboratory assessment of erotic age-preference.
Swedish penal law does not exculpate on the grounds of diminished accountability; persons judged to suffer from severe mental disorder are sentenced to forensic psychiatric care instead of prison. Re-introduction of accountability as a condition for legal responsibility has been advocated, not least by forensic psychiatric professionals. To investigate how professionals in forensic psychiatry would assess degree of accountability based on psychiatric diagnoses and case vignettes, 30 psychiatrists, 30 psychologists, 45 nurses, and 45 ward attendants from five forensic psychiatric clinics were interviewed. They were asked (i) to judge to which degree (on a dimensional scale from 1 to 5) each of 12 psychiatric diagnoses might affect accountability, (ii) to assess accountability from five case vignettes, and (iii) to list further factors they regarded as relevant for their assessment of accountability. All informants accepted to provide a dimensional assessment of accountability on this basis and consistently found most types of mental disorders to reduce accountability, especially psychotic disorders and dementia. Other factors thought to be relevant were substance abuse, social network, personality traits, social stress, and level of education.
The knowledge of the impact of coercion on psychiatric treatment outcome is limited. Multiple measures of coercion have been recommended. The aim of the study was to examine the impact of accumulated coercive incidents on short-term outcome of inpatient psychiatric care
233 involuntarily and voluntarily admitted patients were interviewed within five days of admission and at discharge or after maximum three weeks of care. Coercion was measured as number of coercive incidents, i.e. subjectively reported and in the medical files recorded coercive incidents, including legal status and perceived coercion at admission, and recorded and reported coercive measures during treatment. Outcome was measured both as subjective improvement of mental health and as improvement in professionally assessed functioning according to GAF. Logistic regression analyses were performed with patient characteristics and coercive incidents as independent and the two outcome measures as dependent variables
Number of coercive incidents did not predict subjective or assessed improvement. Patients having other diagnoses than psychoses or mood disorders were less likely to be subjectively improved, while a low GAF at admission predicted an improvement in GAF scores
The results indicate that subjectively and professionally assessed mental health short-term outcome of acute psychiatric hospitalisation are not predicted by the amount of subjectively and recorded coercive incidents. Further studies are needed to examine the short- and long-term effects of coercive interventions in psychiatric care.
Cites: Int J Law Psychiatry. 1997 Spring;20(2):227-419178064
Cites: Int J Law Psychiatry. 1996 Spring;19(2):201-178725657
The assessment of suspected sexual child abuse demands teamwork where the paediatrician plays a central role. From a juridical point of view, the task of the paediatrician is to evaluate the anatomic, microbiologic and forensic medical findings. In 1995, in order to improve the quality of this work, Norwegian paediatricians established a peer review group which meets on a regular basis. Based on available literature and the experience of the individual members, a classification system for anogenital findings has been developed. The findings are divided into five classes. Class one comprises findings frequently seen in children who have not been abused. Class two comprises findings not considered to be normal, but for which there could be many different causes. Classes three, four and five represent findings which are increasingly predictive with respect to injury penetration or attempted penetration. Since our knowledge of anogenital anatomy in children who have not been abused is limited, our classification system should be updated regularly.
Comment In: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1998 May 10;118(12):19109638062