The continuum of sexual aggression: discriminating between sexual murderers and rapists

Black, Fanny (2017). The continuum of sexual aggression: discriminating between sexual murderers and rapists. University of Birmingham. Foren.Psy.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (1MB)


The study of sexual homicide has been of interest to clinicians for over a century without any clear consensus on its causes. Consequently, it remains problematic to accurately assess and treat offenders convicted of such crimes. This thesis aims to explore the behavioural components of sexual murderers dimensionally, and to examine the characteristics of sexual murderers to discriminate both between sexual murderers and rapists and within sexual murderers. It aims to develop an explanatory framework for the understanding of sexual homicide with a view to inform risk and treatment.

An overview of the understanding of sexual murder throughout the literature is detailed in the introductory chapter. The difference between sexual murderers and other sexual offenders is systematically explored in Chapter 2 to determine whether sexual murderers differ from other sexual offenders in terms of personal characteristics. The results indicated important themes which could aid assessment, formulation and treatment, despite the scarce literature and methodological limitations.

Sexual murder has often been associated with sexual sadism. Chapter 3 is a critique of the Severe Sexual Sadism scale, the results of which highlight a need for a dimensional rather than categorical approach to understanding sexual offending (and sexual homicide). Consequently, Chapter 4 consists of an empirical research study exploring the development of a dimensional model that allows for discrimination within sexual murderers, as well as between sexual murderers and rapists. The final chapter explores the implications of the finding of this thesis in the current evidence-base and on practice, and considers further research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year