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Offender Profiling Handout

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OFFENDER PROFILING HANDOUT The following short articles formed part of a series, written to provide an introduction to offender profiling. There are summaries of offender profiling (1); profiling stranger rapists (2); identification of serial rape (3); false rape allegations (4); and geographic profiling (5). At the end there is a list of relevant published material. 1. Introduction to offender profiling Offender profiling has a number of synonyms, which in themselves tell a story. The earliest quoted examples of 'psychological' profiles include those of 'Jack the Ripper' and the 'New York Bomber'. The first was the opinion of a surgeon about the offender's sexual deviancy and mental health, which was based on the injuries suffered by the last of the Ripper's victims. The second was provided by a psychiatrist. It was based on a series of letters and bombs, and included a diagnosis of paranoia, together with a description of typical personal attributes of someone who was paranoid, and other information inferred from the letters and from both the construction and the siting of the bombs. Recently an American linguistic expert has highlighted discrepancies between Brussel's account of the profile and the information still available in the records of the New York Police Department. The profile in the book was apparently a retrospective profile: the original having been modified in the light of the information obtained after the arrest of the offender - a feature evident in many books and television programmes today. During the late seventies and early eighties, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), developed a Behavioural Science Unit at their Academy in Quantico in Virginia, and eventually termed profiling 'Criminal Investigative Analysis'. They did this partly to discriminate their work from that of mental health professionals, and partly because the results of their analysis included not only profiles of unknown offenders, but also opinions on such matters as case linkage, equivocal death analysis, false rape allegations and advice on the both the interrogation of suspects and their cross-examination in court. ...read more.


the perpetrator(s), b) the acts that occurred and c) the setting in which the event took place" (Aiken et al., 1995). It has been said that there are three main categories of false allegation: an alibi (e.g. where the victim is under some pressure to explain her absence from home, illicit sex, or an unexpected pregnancy); revenge (e.g. when a relationship has ended, or advances rejected); and sympathy or attention seeking (which has been likened to Munchausen's syndrome, where patients complain of medical symptoms for which no cause can be found, their motive being manipulation of medical professionals for psychological reasons). The false allegations that seem to cause police investigator most problems, fall into the third category, where the victim is apparently seeking attention or sympathy, although in my experience there sometimes seems to be more than one motivating factor. I have seen cases where financial gain was a motive (criminal injuries compensation), and others that seemed to 'solve a problem' for the victim, as well as perhaps meeting a need for attention. One example of this involved a nun, who was allegedly raped on her way home to her North London convent, just before Christmas 1999. In order to make her allegation more convincing, she cut herself internally. The subsequent investigation took 10 weeks, and was estimated to cost in the region of �50,000. Although, she manifestly enjoyed and encouraged the attention of the press, it was believed that part of her motivation was increasing dissatisfaction with life in a religious order. Features of false allegations This section of the article highlights some of the features of false rape allegations that have been observed by behavioural scientists at the FBI Academy. The features fall broadly into five categories: characteristics of the complainants; the way the alleged offence is reported; the description of the offender or offenders; the ways the complainant was allegedly intimidated or injured; and the physical evidence. ...read more.


Burgess, and A. G. Burgess (Eds.), Crime Classification Manual, pp. 259-268. New York: Simon & Schuster. Douglas, J. and Munn, C. (1992b, February). Violent Crime Scene Analysis. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin: 1-10. Farrington, D. and Lambert, S. (2000). Statistical Approaches to Offender Profiling. In D. Canter and L. Alison, (Eds.), Profiling Property Crimes, pp. 233-273. England: Dartmouth. Francis, B., Barry, J., Bowater, R., Miller, N. Soothill, K. and Ackerly, A. (2004). Using homicide data to assist murder investigations. Home Office Online Report 26/04. Grubin, D., Kelly, P. and Brundson, C. (2001). Linking Serious Sexual Assaults Through Behaviour . Home Office Research Study 215. London: Home Office. Hazelwood, R.R. and Burgess, A.W. (1995). Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Second Edition. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Jackson, J.L. and D.A. Bekerian, D.A. (Eds.), (1997). Offender Profiling: Theory, Research and Practice. Chichester: Wiley. Knight, R.A., Warren, J.I., Reboussin, R. and Soley, B.J. (1998). Predicting Rapist Type from Crime-Scene Variables. Criminal Justice and Behaviour, 25/1: 46-80. Mokros, A. and Alison, L.J. (2002). Is offender profiling possible? Testing the predicted homology of crime scene actions and background characteristics in a sample of rapists. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 7: 25-43. Myhill, A. and Allen, J. (2002). Rape and sexual assault of women: the extent and nature of the problem. Home Office Research Study 237. London: Home Office Parker, A.D. and Brown, J. (2000) Statement validity Analysis as a means of determining truthfulness or falsity of rape allegations. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 5: 237-259. Rossmo, D.K. (2000). Geographic Profiling. Boca Raton FA: CRC Press. Rossmo, D. K., Davies, A. and Patrick, M. (2004). Exploring the geo-demographic and distance relationships between stranger rapists and their offences. (Special Interest Series: Paper 16). London: Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, Home Office Soothill, K., Francis, B., Ackerley, A. and Fligelstone, R. (2002). Murder and Serious Sexual Assault: What criminal histories can reveal about future serious offending. Police Research Series, Paper 144. London: Home Office. West, A.G. (2001). From Offender Profiler to Behavioural Investigative Advisor: The Effective Application of Forensic Science to the Investigation of Major Crime. Police Research and Management, 5/1: 95-108. ...read more.

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