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Insights and analysis into weapon-enabled sexual offending

Dawson, Paul (2015)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis aims to investigate the empirical contribution of weapons within sexual offending with an aspiration of informing the two assumptions of offender profiling (e.g., homology and consistency). Chapter 1 explores the weapon literature before adopting offender profiling (broadly themes of 'planning' and 'violence') as a lens to interpret the phenomena. Chapter 2 focuses upon 1618 one-off single-offender single-victim serious sexual assaults. Twenty percent were weapon enabled. Comparing weapon versus non-weapon offenders, findings suggest no demographic differences although numerous around offence conduction. Chapter 3 adopts whether the weapon was found or brought as an innovative test of the homology assumption. There were no demographic differences, but many behavioural between the groups in particular around victim age. Chapter 4 presents a theory led conceptualisation of weapon-enabled sexual offending, results support the focus upon 'planning' and 'violence'. Chapter 5 investigates escalation and consistency of weapon violence within serial sexual offenders. One third of offenders are defined as increasing their use of violence over their series with key variables associated with this increase reported. There was mixed evidence around consistency - although linked 'crime pairs' were more consistent in weapon-related behaviours. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Dixon, Louise and Woodhams, Jessica
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Psychology
Additional Information:

Publications arising from research:

Dawson, Paul, and Alasdair M. Goodwill. "A review of weapon choice in violent and sexual crime." Beijing Law Review 4.01 (2013): 20. DOI:

Dawson, Paul, Alasdair M. Goodwill, and Louise Dixon. "Preliminary insights and analysis into weapon enabled sexual offenders." Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research 6.3 (2014): 174-184. DOI:

Subjects:BF Psychology
HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:5841
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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