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Police Responses to Rape and Serious Sexual Offences in England and Wales: A Contemporary Critical Appraisal

 

                                                                            By Rosie Woodhams


It has been widely attested that police responses to rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) are not only inadequate, but additionally psychologically harmful to victim-survivors. This paper examines this in detail by critically assessing the key failures of police responses to RASSO, their impact on victim-survivors, and how such inadequacies can be addressed to improve criminal justice experiences and outcomes. In turn, it is theorised that alleviating these key failures wields great potential to reduce the attrition rate of sexual offences and contribute to reducing sexual violence due to the symbolic power the police hold in society.

The Court of Social Media Opinion: Examining How Twitter Users Respond to the Retrial of Footballer Ched Evans

                                         By Stephanie Williams, Dominic Willmott, & Anthony Murphy


Media coverage of rape allegations now generates vast attention across social media. This study investigates perceptions towards a high-profile criminal trial concerning an allegation of rape against professional footballer Ched Evans. Using discourse analysis, we investigate ways in which Twitter users invoked or challenged stereotypes following the 2016 re-trial. Sixty-one tweets were analysed, revealing perceptions surrounding defendant and complainant credibility through a sports fandom lens. Discursive strategies involved perpetuation of rape mythology as a mechanism through which football fans constructed the defendant as innocent and the complainant as untrustworthy. Implications surround targeted interventions to debunk stereotypes among British football fans.
 

SITUATIONAL CRIME PREVENTION AND CRIME DISPLACEMENT REVISITED: MYTHS AND MIRACLES?: PART 2
                                           By Catherine Phillips (Independent researcher)

Abstract


In 2011 I challenged the criminologically orthodox view of crime displacement: that displacement is not inevitable, is often less than anticipated, and that Situational Crime Prevention (henceforth SCP), initiatives may even lead to a “diffusion of benefits”. 


This article attempts to review the literature on crime displacement and any possible diffusion of benefits associated with Situational Crime Prevention initiatives from 2011-2022; both in order to assess whether any significant advancements have been made in the detection of crime displacement since the publication of my original research, and whether Rational Choice Theory (henceforth RCT), really does offer the best explanation in terms of criminal behaviour with regard to crime displacement.
 

Three rediscoveries of Mendel’s law? Some background of a plagiarism case in 1900

                                                           

              Author: Ton Munnich (2023) (Independent academic historian)

The modern research method that was successfully applied to the case of Charles Darwin plagiarising Patrick Matthew, should also be applied to the lingering case of prominent biologist Hugo de Vries plagiarising Gregor Mendel.

The Case for Retrospectively Abolishing Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences

                 Author: Charlotte Head, (2022)
 

This brief critical commentary article will examine and develop an argument for why Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences should be retrospectively abolished, following their prospective abolishment in 2012. Mental health, prison staff, family impacts and ways to help these effects are discussed.

Best Practices for Trauma-informed Jail Reentry Programming for Incarcerated Women

 

                          Authors: Sarah Laite , Dr. Ken Smythe-Leistico , Dr. Katie Swope (2022)

The bulk of the research literature within the criminal justice field focuses heavily on the male population. Additionally, research related to reentry has primarily considered the impact of prison rather than jails. The following paper explores best practices in jail reentry services for women, as well as how these best practices are shaped by trauma, gender, and racial considerations.
 

Criminal Geography and Geographical Profiling within Police Investigations – A Brief Introduction

         Dominic Willmott, Daniel Hunt , & Dara Mojtahedi (2021)

Understanding the interaction between geography and crime has a long tradition throughout the world. If successfully deconstructed and understood, criminal geography can be used to help police strategically target increasingly scarce resources to prevent and reduce crime, as well as helping police investigators to locate and arrest serial offenders. Geographical Profiling (GP) or Geographical Offender Profiling (GOP), revolves around the premise that information regarding crime-related locations can be utilised and scrutinized to identify the most probable location from which a serial offender is based. Using purpose-built computerised decision support systems, underpinned by psycho-geographical theory and research derived from similar known offender spatial behaviours, police investigations can be assisted in many ways. Most notably, by plotting the known crime locations within a particular crime series, decision support systems are able to generate ‘hot-spot’ areas of high probability and priority. Importantly, this provides police investigators with actionable geographical information which can be used to direct resources towards a likely offender base location and thereby rapidly narrow down large suspect pools into a more manageable number. Contemporary police application of traditional GP methods are discussed.

COVID-19, Crime and Inequality: A Research Note 

          Vincenzo Ruggiero, Middlesex University, London (UK)

This research note attempts to identify an area of theoretical and empirical enquiry into the social, economic and political effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The questions such an enquiry will pose revolve around the extent to which the traits of societies around the world are being altered, how the different sectors of the economy are being affected, and whether social groups are paying a differential toll for COVID-19.

Police, Press and Politics: Institutional Responses to Riots in Bradford 2001 and Manchester 2011

                                                                                             Joanne Massey, Manchester Metropolitan University

 

 

Abstract

This article considers the immediate responses of mainstream national and local newspapers to incidents of large-scale urban unrest in English cities, specifically news media representations of the 2001 Bradford riot and 2011 Manchester riot. With a decade between these two events, an examination of media discourses reveals little alteration in reports of riots. This is despite significant political and technological change in the UK. In 2001, the scapegoats were young Asian males and in 2011 ‘feral’ youth. One commonality is the ‘mindlessness’ of events, with the media presenting little justification for the actions of the rioters. Why is urban disorder presented as mindless and criminal by the media? Hegemonic values offer an explanation for this process. Comparative analysis reveals that whilst the two sets of offenders were treated differently by the criminal justice system, with punishment being harsher for those involved in the 2001 riot, little has changed in media narratives, indicating that who is in political power has little impact on media reports.

Routine Activity Theory’s ‘Mindless’ Chemistry Meme Masquerades as a Theory of Crime Causation

Mike  Sutton, Nottingham Trent University

Abstract

Felson and Cohen’s ‘Three Elements in the Chemistry of Crime’ is a model of crime causation proposing that most predatory crime is caused by the suitability of the target to be overcome by a motivated likely offender in the absence of anyone to stop it. Calamitously, this ‘Chemistry Model’ cannot rationally explain causes of crimes of attempt that fail to achieve the offender’s principal goal. That is because the three 'elements' can exist only after the successful completion of an intended predatory crime, not before. Being simply a post-hoc truism masquerading in the literature as a pre-crime causation the ‘Chemistry Model’ cannot be a causal explanation for crime. Believing that such minimalist descriptions of data as the ‘Chemistry Model’ can serve as casual explanations for that data is irrational and pseudoscientific, equating in this case to the nonsensically comical conclusion that every successfully completed crime caused itself to happen. As confirmatory evidence for it being a pathological criminological meme, one hundred examples are cited of the published dissemination of apparent belief in the ‘Chemistry Model’ as a causal explanation for crime. An improved, realistic, pre-crime opportunity model is suggested, but it too represents no more than a similarly tautological descriptive truism, also incapable of testing and refutation. The improved model does provide a rational and more accurate account of potential pre-crime situations, pinpointing fruitful areas for more research. However, it too is a truism and would be equally as absurd as a standalone pseudoscientific minimalist explanation for crime causation as the ‘Chemistry Model’.

SEXUAL RECIDIVISM RISK ASSESSMENT IN ADULT SEX OFFENDERS: A CRITICAL REVIEW

 

                                                                                    Kirsten Edge & Dr. Danielle McDermott 

                                                                                    Leeds Trinity University, School of Health and Social Sciences.

Abstract


This paper is a critical review focussing on the development of sexual recidivism risk assessment measures in adult sex offenders. Both static and dynamic risk factors of sexual recidivism are discussed in relation to their role in the development of risk assessment tools. Research suggests that risk assessments based on static factors alone (e.g., history of offending, victim characteristics, age), are more predictive of general recidivism rather than more specific sexual recidivism and therefore, dynamic risk factors should be assessed as they can be targeted in treatment to reduce the risk of recidivism. Given the limitations of using actuarial risk assessments, evidence from meta-analyses consistently supports the use of structured dynamic risk assessment tools to assess the risk of sexual recidivism. However, more recent research has shown that using a combination of static and dynamic risk assessments provide the best predictions of sexual recidivism. The practical implications of these findings are demonstrated in the Risk Need Responsivity Model of offender assessment and rehabilitation.

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