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The investigation, assessment and formulation of stranger sexual violence

Greenall, Paul Vincent (2015) The investigation, assessment and formulation of stranger sexual violence. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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Stranger sexual violence remains a matter of public concern. A key challenge which confronts criminal justice personnel dealing with such crimes is to understand the causes of the attacks and their meaning for the perpetrator. This thesis presents a portfolio of published works which address this challenge. Firstly, the diverse nature of some very rare and distinctive sex offender sub-types is explored. These include those with a mental illness, a personality disorder and/or those who sexually assault adult female strangers, including rape and sexual homicide. This is achieved by examining case files from high and medium secure forensic services, official data held by the National Crime Agency, and the latest research in this area. Using quantitative and qualitative research methods, important difference in relation to offender previous histories, offence behaviours and offence motivation are highlighted, as well as the differing contexts and circumstances in which stranger sexual violence occurs. These findings suggest that although rare, sex offender types have many similarities to other offenders, knowledge and understanding of these important ‘within-group’ differences are required by criminal justice personnel. Secondly, a new development in forensic clinical practice is presented. Referred to as ‘index offence analysis’ this is a formal and structured analysis of a crime, which helps to capture different offence behaviours and motivations, to ensure they are included in the assessment process and the final case formulation This thesis therefore suggests important ‘within group’ differences exist among men who engage in similar types of stranger sexual violence and such differences can be identified by a detailed analysis of their offending. Consequently, knowledge of such violence is required in order to understand how and why an offence occurred where and when it did. The findings of this thesis have important implications, not only for clinical practice but criminal investigations.

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