Category Archives: Sexual offences

Power, Anger, and Sadistic Rapists and other articles in the latest issue of International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

fearThe August 2008 issue of International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (Vol. 52, No. 4) is out, and contains (as usual) an interesting range of articles.

Here’s one that will be of particlar interest to those interested in psychological profiling of offenders – the theory that particular types of offending behaviour may be associated with particular personality traits. In discussing a Differentiated Model of Offender Personality, Angela Pardue and Bruce A. Arrigo wisely steer clear of the tricky issue of whether the personality characteristics of unknown offenders can be inferred from behavioural and crime scene data (see Alison et al., 2002) but instead explore the relevance of classifying rapists to “effective diagnosis, treatment, and prevention” (p.385). They explain that although several ‘rapist typologies’ exist, such typologies simply describe the type of offending behaviour and

“missing from the literature on rape offenders is any coherent classification schema that describes the personality structure and operation (i.e., profile) of these different, although related, forms of sexual offending (Douglas et al., 2006). Thus, although researchers agree that the tactics and behaviors of rapist types differ, no single taxonomy has been developed that adequately accounts for personality properties” (p.384).

They use a case study method to demonstrated how such a taxonomy might be developed, through a detailed analysis of the offending behaviours and personality characteristics of three well-known offenders: Gilbert Escobedo, Paul Bernardo and Jeffrey Dahmer. They conclude:

Admittedly, the [three case study] analysis is limited in scope and is not generalizable to a larger sample of rapists… [But] the findings from this heuristically oriented case study inquiry suggest that rapists are a heterogeneous group who must be studied as such. Consequently, additional investigations on rapist types and personality composition should be undertaken. This includes the construction of theoretical frameworks and the development of classification taxonomies that lead to empirical analyses (p.397).

References:

Also in this issue of International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology:

  • Ron Langevin and Suzanne Curnoe – Are the Mentally Retarded and Learning Disordered Overrepresented Among Sex Offenders and Paraphilics?
  • Tomer Einat and Amela Einat – Learning Disabilities and Delinquency: A Study of Israeli Prison Inmates
  • Eric L. Sevigny and Phyllis D. Coontz – Patterns of Substance Involvement and Criminal Behavior: A Gender-Based Cluster Analysis of Pennsylvania Arrestees
  • Mally Shechory and Avital Laufer – Social Control Theory and the Connection With Ideological Offenders Among Israeli Youth During the Gaza Disengagement Period
  • Connie Ireland and Bruce Berg – Women in Parole: Respect and Rapport

Photo credit: “Medo / Fear” by xaimex, Creative Commons License

Docuticker round up of criminal Justice-related reports

ex libris gul law reports collectionRound-up of reports featured on Docuticker in the last few weeks:

More Men, More Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy (published by Institute for the Study of Labor December 2007):

…This paper exploits two unique features of the Chinese experience: the change in the sex ratio was both large and mainly in response to the implementation of the one-child policy. Using annual province-level data covering the years 1988-2004, we find that a 0.01 increase in the sex ratio raised the violent and property crime rates by some 5-6%, suggesting that the increasing maleness of the young adult population may account for as much as a third of the overall rise in crime. [PDF available]

Law enforcement responses to trafficking in persons: challenges and emerging good practice (published by Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2007):

…This paper focuses on the challenges that may confront law enforcement officials in any country in their efforts to detect trafficking, identify victims, investigate offences and contribute to the successful prosecution of offenders. Drawing on international experience, this paper identifies some examples of emerging good practice that can help to overcome these challenges, and contribute to the effectiveness of the larger criminal justice response to trafficking. [PDF available]

Criminal justice responses to drug and drug-related offending: are they working? (published by Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2007):

…Over the past seven or eight years, almost every state and territory has implemented a range of so-called drug diversion programs that operate at different points along the criminal justice continuum. … If these initiatives are achieving their objectives, then such costs should be more than offset by the benefits accruing to the community through a reduction in illicit drug use and related offending, improved health and wellbeing for former drug dependent offenders and reduced case loads for the criminal justice system. The key question is ‘Are these programs working: are they, in fact, meeting their primary aims?’ This report attempts to provide some insight into these questions by giving an overview of key findings from national and state-based evaluations that have been undertaken of these initiatives. It will summarise the outcome-based results currently available, identify the knowledge gaps that still exist and point to areas where further work is required to provide a more definitive insight into the value of these programs. [PDF available]

Violent Crime in America: A Tale of Two Cities (published by Police Executive Research Forum, November 2007). From the Overview:

…early indications for 2007 suggest that the countermeasures are beginning to have an impact on crime, according to PERF’s latest survey. When the same sample of 56 jurisdictions used in PERF’s previous surveys are analyzed, aggregate crime levels reported by police agencies for the first six months of 2007 show overall reductions in homicides and other violent crimes. Importantly, however, there are still many jurisdictions reporting increases in violent crime. … We are calling this latest violent crime report “A Tale of Two Cities” to reflect this volatility of crime patterns. [PDF available.]

Sexual Victimization in State and Federal Prisons Reported by Inmates, 2007 (published by Bureau of Justice Statistics, December 2007):

An estimated 4.5 percent of state and federal prisoners reported a sexual victimization in a survey mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today… The survey was conducted in 146 state and federal prisons between April and August 2007, with a sample of 23,398 inmates. [PDF available]

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: What Do We Know and What Do We Do About It? (published by National Institute of Justice, December 2007):

Much investigation remains to be done regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). As with other “low visibility” crimes, there is a lurking “dark figure” of unreported cases. Moreover, little reliable information exists about the types of people who exploit children in this way. Research has revealed that CSEC takes place at three levels: local exploitation by one or a few individuals, small regional networks involving multiple adults and children, and large national or international sex crime networks where children are traded and sold as commodities. [PDF available]

Photo credit: ex_libris_gul, Creative Commons License

Recent podcasts relevant to psychology and crime

MP3onred From the Leonard Lopate Show:

  • Are Sex Offender Laws Working? (20 December): “US sex offender laws may do harm than good, according to a recent report from Human Rights Watch. Strict notification laws and residency requirements don’t reflect the reality of the risks children face, may not protect victims, and violate the basic human rights of former offenders.”
  • Exonerated: Life After Wrongful Imprisonment (The Leonard Lopate Show: 19 December): “Barry Gibbs spent 19 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. David Shepard was wrongfully convicted of rape, and served 10 years of a 30-year sentence. Both were exonerated. But exoneration comes with its own set of challenges. Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Shepard, and Innocence Project attorney Vanessa Potkin explain why returning to the outside world is so difficult…and whether anything can make up for the years lost in prison.”
  • JFK’s Assassination, 44 Years Later (The Leonard Lopate Show: 23 November): “Today, 70 percent of Americans think Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. Robert Stone’s new documentary about JFK’s assassination, “Oswald’s Ghost,” reviews what happened on November 22, 1963 and how that day’s events have become mythologized in American society.”
  • The Art of Political Murder (The Leonard Lopate Show: 15 November): Bishop Juan Gerardi was a Guatemalan human rights leader who was killed after he published a report on Guatemala’s army-led genocidal campaign in the 1980s and 90s. Francisco Goldman’s account of what happened is The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?

A couple of videos via Sandra Kiume’s Channel N Blog:

  • Clinical Reality of Violence Against Women (Emory University Regional Training Center): “…understanding the dynamics of domestic violence by enhancing their response and intervention skills with patients who are victims of domestic violence.”
  • Adolescent Sex Offenders (Yale Psychiatry): “In a Yochelson Lecture, Roy O’Shaughnessy, M.D., Head, Division Forensic Psychiatry of the University of British Columbia (UBC) discusses the psychopathy, treatment and management of adolescent sex offenders. Interesting, and challenging to pop culture assumptions and values.”

From the BBC:

  • Assignment – The internet chatroom murder (22 November): “This week on Assignment, a story of lust, deception and betrayal on the internet. It tells the extraordinary story of a middle-aged factory worker who undergoes a virtual and very real transformation after he goes online – a transformation which ends in murder.”

And finally, over at The Psych Files:

  • The Effects of Video Game and Media Violence (7 December): “What do psychologists think about the effects of violent video games and violence in the media on viewers? Does it lead people to be more aggressive? More violent? Or is it the other way around?”

“Reforms aim to dispel rape myths and increase convictions”

no2rapeThe UK Government has finally published details of proposed reforms to the criminal justice system, in a bid do something to increase the appalling 6% conviction rate for rape. I can’t find a link to the official Government announcement, but the Guardian (29 Nov) is one of many news media to report the details, which include informing jurors of the range of responses that victims may have to rape:

Juries are to be told how rape victims typically respond in an attempt to dispel “rape myths” which ministers believe are contributing to plummeting conviction rates for the crime. A panel of judges, doctors and academics will start work next month on the project, which will attempt to put together a package to inform the jury without interfering with the fairness of a trial.

… Ministers initially proposed allowing expert witnesses to give evidence to the jury on how rape victims behave. But that idea, which circuit judges described as a “minefield”, has been shelved. The panel is expected to recommend an information booklet, a video or directions from the judge. A proposal for a statutory definition of “capacity to consent” – to deal with situations where a woman was so drunk it was questionable whether she had the power to say yes or no – has also been scrapped.

There is plenty of research on rape myths and a fair amount on jurors’ decision making in rape and sexual assault trials (see below the fold). And the issue of ‘capacity to consent’ has received recent attention: research sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Centre and completed last year by UK researchers Dr Emily Finch and Dr Vanessa Munro suggests that juries are ‘unsympathetic’ to women who make allegations of rape following a period of heavy drinking : Finch and Munro “found that jurors often took the view that it was ‘reasonable’ for a man to assume that silence represented sexual consent, even if the silence was due to the fact that the woman was totally intoxicated”.

So efforts to address jurors’ stereotypes about rape and rape victims are welcome. But as the Fawcett Society points out, attrition in rape cases starts early. The vast majority of allegations of rape don’t even get as far as the courtroom. The UK Home Office published an excellent report earlier this year, in which the authors examined patterns of attrition in rape cases (Feist et al., 2007). They found that nearly 70% of cases were lost between the victims’ allegation being recorded and a suspect being charged, with the main reasons being the victim withdrawing her* complaint, perhaps because she lost confidence in the police investigation, and the police failing to find enough evidence to charge a suspect. Rape is a difficult crime to investigate, but the Feist et al. findings indicated variation in attrition rates across police forces, suggesting that local practices might in part contribute to the failure to bring rapists to justice. Reforms need to address the care of victims of rape and the investigation of sexual assault cases if real progress is to be made in increasing our pitiful conviction rapes.

* the Feist et al. research only covered investigations of allegations of rape of females

References:

Further references on rape myths and jury decision making below the fold.

Photo credit: steenface!, Creative Commons License

Continue reading “Reforms aim to dispel rape myths and increase convictions”

Essays on social justice and criminal justice

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at Kings College London has published a set of essays based on contributions and papers from a two day conference held by the Centre earlier this year.

This collection of essays from more than 20 researchers and academics highlights how the government has failed to tackle deep-rooted social injustice. Published as part of our Harm and Society project, the collection explores themes such as the impact of historically high levels of inequality, endemic violence against women and the increasing reliance on criminal justice measures to manage social problems.

Table of contents below the fold.

Reference:

Continue reading Essays on social justice and criminal justice

Quick links

anchorchain

Having neglected this blog somewhat in recent weeks I find myself now overwhelmed with interesting snippets from around the web and blogosphere. Here are just a few that caught my eye:

The Eyewitness Reform Blog reports on a conviction “overturned for failure to “seriously consider” expert testimony on eyewitness factors”: “The court didn’t go as far as to say that it was error to exclude the expert testimony, but citing Illinois case law, found that it was error to fail to provide a reasoned basis for its exclusion.”

The Eyewitness Reform Blog also highlights the recent publication of an article in the NIJ Journal on making eyewitness identification in police line-ups more reliable.

Convicted conman Frank Abnegale claims that a combination of technology and living in “an extremely unethical society” has made crime easier: “You can build all the security systems in the world; you can build the most sophisticated technology, and all it takes is one weak link — someone who operates that technology — to bring it all down” (hat tip to Slashdot).

Some great posts from Romeo Vitelli at Providentia recently, including the tale of a psychotic priest killer, an exorcism case in Singapore, the killer who boasted about how easy it was to lie to psychiatrists, Guy de Maupassant’s struggle with neurosyphilis and two articles on shell shock.

Scott Henson over at Grits for Breakfast has also had some interesting posts up in the last few weeks, including a critique of the “policy many police and probation departments have adopted of rounding up all the registered sex offenders in their community into custody on Halloween night to keep them from having children come to their door” (see also Karen Franklin’s post) and a comment on the fact that although Americans are less likely to be victims of crime, their fear of crime just keeps rising.

Forensic psych Karen Franklin highlights some interesting (and free) articles on sex offending in the journal Sexual Offender Treatment. Whilst I’m talking about Karen, I’ll point you to a great little piece she wrote in September in which she demolishes a few myths and provides some practical advice about what it takes to become a forensic psych.

Michael Connolly at Corrections Sentencing points us towards the impressive set of evaluation resources over at the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 34 is up at Abyss2Hope.

Photo credit: bigeoino, Creative Commons License

New issue: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 46(4)

journals

The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 46(4), September 2007 is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Professionally-Facilitated Volunteerism in the Community-Based Management of High-Risk Sexual Offenders: Part Two – A Comparison of Recidivism Rates – ROBIN J. WILSON, JANICE E. PICHECA, MICHELLE PRINZO
  • Individual Differences in Public Opinion about Youth Crime and Justice in Swansea – KEVIN HAINES, STEPHEN CASE
  • Improving the Civil-Criminal Interface for Victims of Domestic Violence – AMANDA L. ROBINSON
  • Deciding Upon Mode of Trial – STEVEN CAMMISS
  • Policing Anti-Social Behaviour: Constraints, Dilemmas and Opportunities – SARAH HODGKINSON, NICK TILLEY
  • Youth Justice, Social Exclusion and the Demise of Social Justice – PATRICIA GRAY
  • The Judiciary as a Primary Definer on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders – JANE DONOGHUE

Talking to sex offenders

lockeddoorA few weeks ago PCN featured a journal article on talking to sex offenders. Now, courtesy of the BBC (30 Oct), news that the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has set up a behavioural analysis unit to better understand sex offenders. Psychologists are conducting interviews with imprisoned offenders. As the BBC story explains:

These interviews are being recorded, with 1,000 hours already having been collected, and then analysed by experts to learn more about offenders and their motivation. The point of the unit… is to “improve knowledge about offenders, why they do what they do and how we can prevent that from happening”.

Ceop tackles child sex abuse and its new unit has a staff of four, which includes forensic psychologists and specialists in forensic behaviour analysis, who believe most sex offenders can be deterred from committing a crime …The unit’s staff go into prisons and conduct the interviews themselves, asking open-ended questions in an attempt to get the offenders talking.

According to a spokesperson:

“We have a theoretical model that we work to called the spiral of abuse, and the idea is that if you can intercept someone at some point on the spiral, you can stop them. That’s the theory, but it does depend on the individual.”

In a second story on the BBC News website we learn that the Ceop unit is “based on a similar FBI unit in the US” and that Ceop has also:

launched its own educational academy. Child protection workers from a number of fields, including police and the charity sector, will be able to study for a University of Central Lancashire-accredited qualification. [Ceop head Jim] Gamble said that would help create a field of experts with up-to-date knowledge of child protection techniques.

The Ceop press release, on which the BBC stories are based, can be found here.

Photo credit: Still_Burning, Creative Commons License

New issue: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 18(4)

journals

Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 18(4) is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • Medical evidence for the purposes of recall to hospital under Section 42(3) of the Mental Health Act 1983 – Ikechukwu Obialo Azuonye
  • Opening communicative space: A Habermasian understanding of a user-led participatory research project – Paul Godin; Jacqueline Davies; Bob Heyman; Lisa Reynolds; Alan Simpson; Mike Floyd
  • Risk typologies of serious harm offenders managed under MAPPA: Mental health, personality disorders, and self-harm as distinguishing risk factors – Joanne Wood
  • Homicide-suicide in the Netherlands: A study of newspaper reports, 1992 – 2005 – M. C. A. Liem; F. Koenraadt
  • Forensic inpatient male sexual offenders: The impact of personality disorder and childhood sexual abuse – Manuela Dudeck; Carsten Spitzer; Malte Stopsack; Harald J. Freyberger; Sven Barnow
  • HoNOS-secure: A reliable outcome measure for users of secure and forensic mental health services – Geoff Dickens; Philip Sugarman; Lorraine Walker
  • Parental schemas in youngsters referred for antisocial behaviour problems demonstrating depressive symptoms – Leen Van Vlierberghe; Benedikte Timbremont; Caroline Braet; Barbara Basile
  • The role and scope of forensic clinical psychology in secure unit provisions: A proposed service model for psychological therapies – Gisli H. Gudjonsson; Susan Young
  • On aggression and violence: An analytic perspective – Colin Campbell

New issue: Journal of Interpersonal Violence 22(11)

journals

The November 2007 issue of Journal of Interpersonal Violence 22(11) is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Sign up for personalised ToC alerts here .

Contents include:

  • Assessing the Factors Associated With Sexual Harassment Among Young Female Migrant Workers in Nepal – Mahesh Puri and John Cleland
  • Parricide: An Empirical Analysis of 24 Years of U.S. Data – Kathleen M. Heide and Thomas A. Petee
  • Weapons Used by Juveniles and Adult Offenders in U.S. Parricide Cases – Kathleen M. Heide and Thomas A. Petee
  • Postdicting Arrests for Proactive and Reactive Aggression With the PICTS Proactive and Reactive Composite Scales – Glenn D. Walters, Alice A. Frederick, and Charles Schlauch
  • Acculturation Stress, Drinking, and Intimate Partner Violence Among Hispanic Couples in the U.S. – Raul Caetano, Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler, Patrice A. Caetano Vaeth, and T. Robert Harris
  • An Analysis of Korean Homicide Crime-Scene Actions – C. Gabrielle Salfati and Jisun Park
  • Structural Validity of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist Among College Students With a Trauma History – Jon D. Elhai, Matt J. Gray, Anna R. Docherty, Todd B. Kashdan, and Samet Kose
  • Clinical Epidemiology of Urban Violence: Responding to Children Exposed to Violence in Ten Communities – Ilan Harpaz-Rotem, Robert A. Murphy, Steven Berkowitz, Steven Marans, and Robert A. Rosenheck