Objectives: This small exploratory study aims to investigate the characteristics of those convicted of rape or serious sexual assault against an elderly person (aged 65 years or over) who were referred to the Irish Forensic Psychiatry Service for assessment.
Method: A retrospective examination of the case histories of such individuals both at the Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum, Dublin and at Arbour Hill Prison, Dublin between 1989 and 1995.
Results: Ten such cases were found. The most frequent diagnoses were those of schizophrenia and alcohol dependence syndrome. A dual diagnosis of both schizophrenia and alcohol dependence was common. A high percentage of the schizophrenia cases had been previously charged with sexual offences and most were non-compliant with prescribed psychotropic medication at the time of the offence.
Conclusions: A very small number of people with mental illness may be at increased risk of committing a sexual offence against an elderly person. Further study of such offenders is merited.