Introduction to clinical issues

Authored by: Adam J. Carter

Routledge International Handbook of Sexual Homicide Studies

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9780415791489
eBook ISBN: 9781315212289
Adobe ISBN:


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Accounts and clinical descriptions have been important in helping to understand perpetrators of sexual homicide and their aetiology. From these sources, subsets of sexual homicide perpetrators have been identified and typologies proposed that, although not empirically validated, can be drawn upon during the assessment process and in treatment planning. Sexual homicide perpetrators show more similarities with than differences to sexual aggressors. At the same time, there are a range of contextual factors, crime scene behaviours, and psychological factors that are characteristic of sexual homicide cases, and that the forensic practitioner needs to be alert to when undertaking assessments of these perpetrators. A definition of sexual homicide that will be universally accepted and adopted is likely to remain elusive, given the heterogeneity of the functional role of sexual behaviour in the killing. At the same time, the Ressler, Burgess, and Douglas (1988) definition is being used with more frequency in studies, and this is helping bring some consistency to research and allowing comparisons to be made. Studies that address some of the weaknesses inherent in existing research are now being undertaken. This research is also better controlling for subtypes of sexual homicide, and using more appropriate comparison groups and larger samples.

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