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Forensic Psychiatry

Dr. Paul Fedoroff and the Forensic Research Unit

In 2005, the Sexual Behaviors Clinic of the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and the IMHR Forensic Research Unit, directed by Dr. Paul Fedoroff, hosted the annual meeting of the International Academy of Sex Research which brought the leading sex researchers in the World to Ottawa for the first time. Together with the division of Forensic Psychiatry, headed by Dr. John Bradford, this unit has hosted clinicians and researchers from Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and South America who have sought assistance in emulating the success of this unit and the internationally renowned Integrated Forensic Program. One reason for this success is the commitment of the program to excellence in clinical care, teaching and innovative research. Of particular note is the program's interest in vulnerable populations that have previously gone largely unnoticed. One of these consists of men and women with intellectual disability.

In a recent study partially funded by the CIHR, the IMHR Forensic Research Unit discovered that standard assessment tools used to assess the risk of re-offense in men with histories of sex crimes may not be applicable in men with developmental delay. The reason is that items associated with risk in men with normal intelligence may have different significance in men with intellectual disabilities.

People often imagine that a clinical program focused on the assessment and treatment of people accused of sexual offenses is one of despair. In truth the Sexual Behaviors Clinic of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group frequently deals with men who themselves are victims with severe psychiatric and intellectual impairments. While this in no way diminishes the harm they have caused, research projects like the ones carried out here hold the promise of a future in which men and women who might commit sex offenses can be identified and treated before others are harmed. In part due to innovative assessment and treatment, the incidence of sex crimes is dropping and the re-offense rate of sex offenders is now less than 15%. Planned research aims to drop this rate even further.

For more information on the University of Ottawa IMHR Forensic Research Unit please contact Susan Curry, Research Coordinator at 613-722-6521 ext. 6359 or by email at Susan.Curry@rohcg.on.ca.
For a list of on-going studies currently recruiting participants, please visit our Study Participation page.