Rape

Rape is sexual intercourse with a person who does not consent. Many cases are probably not reported to the police. Most rape victims are women, but male rape is an increasingly recognized problem. Victims of rape may develop psychiatric disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or sexual dysfunction. Sympathetic treatment in special sexual assault centres can help to reduce the distress associated with reporting this crime, which may require intimate examination to obtain evidence.

Various psychiatric classifications of rapists have been proposed in the past ('violent', 'sadistic', etc.) but these are not now regarded as helpful: rape is an offence not an illness. If assessment is requested, the offender should be assessed in a standard way. Personality disorder, substance misuse, and low intelligence are often found in rapists; mental illness is infrequent.

Antilibidinal drugs may be used in the management of rapists. However, this is a very difficult area medico-legally, as the prescriber may be blamed for any reoffending. If such drugs were to be considered, it would only be as part of an overall package of offender management.

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