It's a Crime: Reexamining the Successful Use of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder as a Legal Defense to Child Sexual Assault in the Canadian Case of R. v. Borsch

Grover, Sonja
March 2007
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;Spring2007, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p5
Academic Journal
This article discusses the 2006 Canadian case of R. v. Borsch in which posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was successfully used as the basis for an insanity defense in a child sexual assault case. It is argued that there is no scientific evidence of a causal link between PTSD and violent criminal behavior. The facts of the Borsch case are discussed in order to highlight the illegitimacy of basing an insanity defense on PTSD. The court's drawing of a causal link in Borsch between the defendant's alleged PTSD and his committing a child sexual assault creates a maladaptive culturally defined belief system. That belief system assigns to defendants an alleged entitlement, due to PTSD, to commit violent acts by holding these acts to be an inevitable outcome for a variety of reasons in the particular instance. The similarities between PTSD and the so-called "culture-bound" mental disorder of "amok" are also discussed.


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