Forensic Psychology - Violent offenders

What is a violent crime:

  • Violence is physical force exerted to harm a person or damage property - from a clinical point of view acts of aggression to inanimate objects can be a good predictor whether someone is going to act violently) some argue self-harm and suicidal are internal forms of violence and should be treated the same as external forms of violence 
  • Criminal violene e.g. homocide, assault, robbery, sexual assault 
  • Aggression is (attempted or actual) intended physical or psychological harm 
    • instrumental - violence that's carried out to achieve a specific goal - doesn't have extreme emotional component. Planned 
    • Expressive - strong emotional component, react to larger stressors 
  • CE: legal and feminist definitions. Legal requirement in court to establish guilt in violence and also feminist defintiions to see how they differ

Prevalence of violent crime:

  • British crime survey: violent crime doesn't make up majority of offending in this country. Under a quarter of all offences 
    • violent offences = approx. 20% of all offences 
    • Victims likely to be young (16-24) males 
    • Increased risk if:
      • mixed ethnicity (or minority grouping)
      • single 
      • unemploted or student
  • CE: other methods of measurement? BCS good enough? Data from police and academia that show a different figure?
  • Police? claim the violent offences percentage is increasing - this may however, just be due to more people coming forward to report and not an increase iin occurence 

Early predictions of adult violence: (Lipsey & Derzon, 1998):

  • Male issue, being a male is a risk factor for this
  • Low SES - doesn't predict just being a victim but also a perpetrator 
  • Parent's anti-social behaviour: learned behaviours and internalising their attitudes, witnesses aggression and violence and those behaviours are internalised and taken into adulthood
  • Poor relationship with parents - unpredictable approach to punishment style 
  • Anti-social peers (routine activity theory emphasises that crime occurs when three elements converge; 1 a motivated offender, 2 a suitable target and 3 the absence of a capable guardian. This theory includes the routine activities of both offender and victim 
  • Poor attitudes towards school - delinquency in children and development in adulthood and poor school performance 
  • Drug use 
  • general delinquency 
  • early onset of aggression

Other possible factors:

  • hostile attrubutional bias (some people see negativity and hostility in what are in fact normal social interactions. Attribute it to aggression, more likely to then react aggressively 
  • Emotional arousal; 

  • Poor interpersonal skills/lack of non-violent skills for solving conflicts (believe its okay to solve all conflict through aggressive means)

Other possible factors:

  • impulsivity - related to personality disorders (difficulty putting own needs on hold, in terms of gratification)
  • need for immediate gratification 
  • maintains self-esteem 
  • low empathy
  • alochol
  • media? 
  • self-esteem, self-identity, self-efficacy: triad of qualities and characteristics that can be used to explain violence, if a particular violent act is good for their self-esteem and how they identify themselves as a man, and they believe that violence that is within their behaviour repertoire, if these three things come together then violence becomes increasingly high

The media aggression hypothesis:

  • learn aggression through observing…


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