Harris was taking regular birth control pills. Thus, ideas of proper sexual conduct are shaped by unreliable influences from the media, peer groups, caretakers with impure motives, or other perpetrators of sexual abuse. The numerical IQ is used in the courtroom as a key instrument to either establish or disprove competency and the independent social and sexual functioning of the mentally retarded individual in question. The mentally retarded show a lower rate of offspring production than the nonretarded, yet the majority of mentally retarded individuals are potentially fertile with margins for individual variation. Inclusionary standard for determining sexual consent for individuals with developmental disabilities. The IQ of the alleged victim has historically formed the cornerstone of presentations by both the prosecution and the defense. Abstract The primary care physician has a vital role in documenting and preventing sexual abuse among the mentally retarded populations in our community.
Harris was taking regular birth control pills. Sexuality and the mentally retarded adolescent. The physician is encouraged to fulfill an advocate's role by broaching the issue of sexual activity with the patient and directing the patient and caregiver toward community resources and support groups to address these issues. It is imperative for physicians to understand the biological aspects of mental retardation in order to make informed decisions concerning the rights of the mentally retarded in the community. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In addition, medical perspectives on pertinent aspects of sexual development of mentally retarded individuals and profiles of the typical perpetrators of sexual abuse are provided as a reference for the practicing physician. Such education to resist potential abusers empowers the mentally retarded individual and will greatly facilitate communication about sexual abuse cases in both the medical and legal settings. Received Sep 21; Accepted Nov First, states often have statutes for the mentally retarded citizen separate from the general sex offense statutes. Cases of sexual assault are arbitrated differently according to individual state laws and statutes; however, there are 3 main themes that may prove helpful for the physician. As the legal arena is currently revising laws concerning rights of sexual consent among the mentally retarded, it is essential that determinations of mental competency follow national standards in order to delineate clearly any instance of sexual abuse. Because primary care physicians are uniquely positioned in our society to identify and to prevent sexual abuse among these individuals, these health professionals must understand the possible medical and legal consequences of their clinical diagnoses in this population. Evaluation of mental competency. The numerical IQ is used in the courtroom as a key instrument to either establish or disprove competency and the independent social and sexual functioning of the mentally retarded individual in question. It is now recognized that sexual interests and desires of the mild and moderately retarded vary in intensity just like those in the nonretarded population. It is crucial for physicians to recognize that mentally retarded citizens, from childhood to adulthood, have a unique biological profile that makes them particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse. Reducing barriers to sex education for adults with mental retardation. Medical sexual history documentation is a crucial area no longer immune to the eyes of the court; medical records have been recalled and even used against the victim. Introductory Textbook of Psychiatry. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. A thorough examination may reveal bruising or infection in the genital area. Defining Competency Versus Capacity As discussed earlier, competency is a legal concept, but primary care physicians are both able and uniquely positioned to submit opinions for the court's final determination. The primary care physician is able to assess competency by assessing the 3 main aspects as follows: These individuals are capable of minimal daily functions and are very dependent on a structured and supervised setting. American Association of Mental Retardation. Open in a separate window Third, since mental retardation is defined as a disruption of a child's developmental process, onset must occur before the age of full mental development, i.
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