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Title: Serious violent offenders : an exploration of offender characteristics, criminal history information and specialisation
Author: Coleman, Rebecca Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 8630
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2016
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Serious violent crime, including homicide, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm, has recently increased in England and Wales, together with the need to identify, and efficiently intervene with, perpetrators at risk of future violent offending. Research has highlighted, in particular, the importance of gathering more information on female serious violent offenders, making comparisons between serious violent male and female perpetrators, and examining different types of serious violent criminals. The overall purpose of this thesis, therefore, was to add to our existing understanding of serious violent offenders, thereby, hopefully, informing current debates and under researched areas, and assisting practitioners within the criminal justice system. Within this context, the main objectives of the thesis were to (i) examine the extent to which subgroups of offenders differ according to offender characteristics (age, gender) and criminal history information (offending frequency, chronicity, crime types); (ii) determine the extent to which serious violent offenders specialise in criminality and how this may differ between subgroups; (iii) explore the relationships between the diversity index, frequency of offending, the age at the first criminal offence, and the age at the serious violent offence; and (iv) assess the variables deemed to significantly predict future serious violent outcomes. A quantitative, retrospective approach was taken using archival data provided by Devon and Cornwall Police Force; this included 10-years of crimes recorded in the borough between April 2001 and March 2011. Descriptive and comparative analyses explored the subgroups of serious violent offenders, and matched-case controls. Serious violent perpetrators had a higher offending frequency and were more likely to have previously committed violent crime; this was also the case for the male and female control comparisons. Furthermore, the male control sample were more likely to have a prior conviction for sexual offences, and female controls were more likely to commit theft and property crime. In addition, serious violent males were statistically more likely to have been previously convicted for violent, and a mixture of non-violent, crimes, compared to serious violent females. Also, attempted murder and homicide offenders were older and more likely to have committed violence, and perpetrators of grievous bodily harm were more likely to have a conviction for burglary or theft offences. No significant findings emerged in terms of the levels of chronicity. Pockets of specialisation were detected within the groups of serious violent perpetrators, yet diversity was significantly more likely to be exhibited amongst serious violent subgroups. Relationships were also found between diversity and a higher offending frequency, age at first offence and age at serious violent crime. Importantly, age at the first serious violent crime and types of offences in the criminal history emerged as significant factors in predictive models of future serious violence. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, with recommendations for future research.
Supervisor: Almond, L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral