Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Latest documents

  • Gaslighting and its application to interpersonal violence

    Purpose: The study aims to examine the nature of gaslighting and how it relates to interpersonal aggression. Design/methodology/approach: It does so first through application of a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) to understand how gaslighting is understood academically. This RAE captured 50 articles, with 12 retained for thematic review. Results were then used to develop a gaslighting behaviour measure, which was then applied in an online study of adults (n = 386; 77.2% women). Findings: Five themes were identified from the REA: components of gaslighting; gaslighting as a tool for abuse; perpetrators as damaged manipulators; experiences and characteristics of victims; and institutional and racial gaslighting. In the ensuing study, results demonstrated that emotional abuse was broadly related both to the perpetration and experiencing of gaslighting, indicating that it may represent an extension of emotional abuse. The relationship to trait aggression was limited and primarily isolated to victims presenting with higher levels of trait aggression capturing more emotional components (e.g. anger/hostility). Research limitations/implications: The importance of context in understanding the relationship between gaslighting, emotional abuse and aggression was indicated, with some complexity found. Suggestions for future research are made. Practical implications: Accounting for context in understanding gaslighting is key. Developing and validating measures for gaslighting would assist with the evaluation of this behaviour. When working with those who have a history of emotional abuse, considering gaslighting as a further element is potentially important. It should not be assumed that gaslighting has an association with non-emotional aggression; the type of relationship where it is occurring is important. Originality/value: This study is the first to consider the development of a gaslighting measure, which is informed by a methodological review of the literature.

  • Exploring the relationship between psychopathy and criminal thinking: utilising the Tri-PM within a forensic sample

    Purpose: The Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (Tri-PM) was developed in 2010 as an alternative approach to the assessment of psychopathy. The measure aims to capture psychopathic traits on a 3-factor model, which encompass the characteristics established in previous measures, as well as those evidenced within practise. Though support for the tool in academic research is growing, less is known about the scale’s utility within crime forensic settings. Thus, this study aims to explore the relationship between the Tri-PM psychopathy constructs and criminal cognition within a forensic sample. Design/methodology/approach: Seventy-three adult male offenders, convicted for acquisitive or sexual crimes, from a Category B prison within the Northwest of England completed questionnaires measuring their criminal backgrounds, psychopathy traits (Tri-PM; Patrick, 2010) and criminal thinking styles (Psychology Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles; Walters, 2001). Findings: The Tri-PM measurement proved to be a successful predictor of most criminal thinking styles. Moreover, the meanness construct was the strongest predictor of proactive thinking styles, whereas the disinhibition construct was the strongest predictor of reactive thinking styles, and the boldness construct was negatively associated with reactive thinking. Comparisons among offender groups also indicated that acquisitive offenders reported higher scores of psychopathy and criminal thinking. Originality/value: This study offers valuable insight into the proposed relationship between psychopathy and criminal thinking, using a recent addition to the repertoire of psychopathy measurements, the Tri-PM. This study also offers practical implications for those offering treatment within forensic settings, with significant relationships identified between the highly scoring psychopathy constructs and various criminal thinking styles.

  • Guest editorial
  • An exploration of treatment providers experiences of delivering a high intensity intervention, with violent offenders

    Purpose: Whilst a great deal of research exists on the effectiveness of treatment with violent offenders comparatively little is known about the experience of treatment providers. The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of four prison officers delivering a high-intensity intervention, with violent offenders. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative approach was used to gain a rich, individualised account of treatment providers’ experiences, with interpretative phenomenological analysis applied by the lead researcher (first author). External auditing analysis was conducted by the second author. Findings: The analysis generated two superordinate themes: “Impact on Self-Coping” and “With Great Challenge Comes Great Reward” with pertinent sub-themes. The findings support the existing evidence regarding the relevance of individual characteristics and coping style on well-being, regardless of the nature of the offences being discussed. Working with violent offenders could be challenging yet rewarding with adequate support in place. Practical implications: It is imperative that treatment providers are offered support and encouragement in undertaking their role and that a rehabilitative culture is promoted and reinforced within custodial environments. Additional training for facilitators to develop effective self-coping strategies was recommended in addition to careful management of delivery periods. Originality/value: These findings add to the evidence base in relation to the impact of high-intensity treatment provision on individual well-being; suggestions are made to support clinical and organisational good practice.

  • The first stage of an exploratory study into the UK fire and rescue services working with children and young people who set fires

    Purpose: This paper aims to outline the first stages of an exploratory study into how the UK fire and rescue services (FRSs) identify those children and young people who require psychosocial interventions to address their firesetting behaviour. Design/methodology/approach: A purposive sample (N = 53) representing all the UK FRSs was recruited. Participants completed an online survey to establish the type of firesetting intervention provided, if any; the training and policies available to staff who identify those clients requiring psychosocial interventions and what influences this decision-making. Findings: Decision-making on how to identify clients requiring psychosocial interventions was dominated by professional judgement informed by practitioner training and experience alone, which is subject to human error and bias. Some staff undertaking this risk-critical work have no access to training and/or written guidance to assist their decision-making. Nearly 30% of participants (N = 14) deemed national firesetting policy as not useful in identifying the type of firesetting intervention needed. The development of a risk assessment tool, training and national written guidance were considered the three main ways staff could be helped in identifying those clients requiring psychosocial interventions. Practical implications: The implications are as follows: the development of a risk assessment tool for fire and rescue service staff working with children and young people who set fires, a requirement for all fire and rescue staff working with children and young people who set fires to receive mandatory training in this specialist field of work, all FRSs to offer firesetting intervention services to children and young people, all FRSs to have written firesetting policies that assist staff in their identification of firesetting risk and national firesetting guidance for FRSs that assists staff in their identification of firesetting risk and the tenets of defensible decision-making. Originality/value: To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first study to look at how the UK FRSs identify those children and young people requiring psychosocial interventions to address their firesetting behaviour. The 100% completion rate to the online survey suggests the findings are generalisable across all the UK FRSs, providing the FRS professional body with an opportunity to instigate the changes their frontline practitioners and managers have identified.

  • Psychopathy assessments in forensic psychiatry: a pilot study of Canadian practitioners’ use and perceptions

    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to survey practitioners’ use and perceptions of psychopathy assessments in Canadian forensic psychiatric settings. Psychopathy assessments are widely used in forensic settings to inform decisions about sentencing, placement, rehabilitation and parole. Recent empirical evidence suggests that the utility of psychopathy assessments might be overestimated, leading to a debate about their legal and ethical justification. However, one shortcoming of these discussions is that they rely heavily on anecdotal evidence about how exactly psychopathy assessments influence forensic decisions, due to a general lack of survey data on field uses. Some data are available in European and American contexts, but little is known about Canadian clinical practice. Design/methodology/approach: To address this shortcoming in the literature, the authors conducted a pilot study of practitioners in forensic psychiatric units in Ontario (N = 18), evaluating their use of psychopathy assessments, reporting habits and their perceptions of psychopathic offenders. Findings: Practitioners reported that they primarily used the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) as a risk assessment tool, often in combination with other tools. Most clinicians reported using psychopathy assessments infrequently, that there was a low base rate of psychopathic offenders and their attitudes and beliefs about psychopathy were generally consistent with the empirical literature. Originality/value: This pilot study provides novel insights into the use of psychopathy assessments in Canadian forensic psychiatry with the potential to inform current debates.

  • New South Wales drug courts: once a novelty – today, its business as usual

    Purpose: The purpose of this research is to considers the degree to which drug courts (DCs) in New South Wales (NSW) adhere to the ten key components (TKCs), which were developed by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, as a model practice for implementing DCs. Design/methodology/approach: This study relied upon semi-structured interviews conducted with 21 professionals who work in the DC field from NSW. The sample represented various stakeholders responsible for the delivery of drug court programs (DCPs) in NSW. A qualitative analysis was conducted, this analysis uncovered practices adopted by the DC that go beyond those that were standardised in the closed-ended questions but nevertheless fell within the TKCs. The qualitative analyses added weight to the results determined by the descriptive statistics. Findings: The results confirm that DCs in NSW adhere to the TKCs that describe successful DCPs internationally. In spite of this, several key components accomplished higher adherence rates than others. What can be said is that over 60% of the component’s benchmarks achieved the 80% target determined by the writer. Research limitations/implications: The key components that have lower adherence rates are anticipated and must not be interpreted as undesirable results. DCs are encouraged to modify their programme characteristics to ensure further adherence to the specified benchmarks. To this extent, high regard is given to the practices adopted and identified through the qualitative data analysis. Practical implications: The recommendations made to DCs in NSW are consistent with implementing model DCPs as defined by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals in 1997. Originality/value: The TKCs are fundamentally standards for implementation and open an opportunity for discussion and are open for opportunity and examination. In theory and practice, each DC may interpret and implement the TKCs differently. In this regard, there is value in gaining an appreciation of pw DCs are interpreting the TKCs and applying them. It is business as usual at DCs; however, this research has demonstrated that there is no lack of innovation when it comes to DC in NSW implementing the TKCs.

  • Digital displacement of youth offending: scoping and understanding the issue

    Purpose: Global evidence suggests that youth offending has reduced; however, this study aims to suggest a more complex picture, with youth crime potentially being displaced to the digital space. Historically, young people and crime have been synonymous with public spaces and being visible. A shift or expansion to online offending requires revision of how the justice and educational systems respond to youth offending. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic literature review explored keywords related to age, digital offence or harm and criminal or harmful nature, using a search, appraisal, synthesis and analysis framework. Findings: Three emergent areas of digital youth crime are discussed: digitally assisted crime, digitally dependent crime and digital harm. Practical implications: The shift in youth offending requires response adjustment from prevention to detection. Opportunities may exist to disrupt or redirect youth before they offend. Further data specific to digital offending is needed. These findings seek to provide a possible direction for future research. Originality/value: The concept of digital displacement of youth offending is progressively emerging. This paper examines types of offending categorised into three areas of interest.

  • Online abuse: problematic for all Australians

    Purpose: This paper aims to disseminate results from research into three forms of online abuse: text messages, picture messages and online stalking. Design/methodology/approach: Using a mixed methods design, qualitative and quantitative datasets were derived from an online anonymous questionnaire to identify themes associated with incidents of online abuse. Findings: Women of all ages have experienced online abuse from men and other women. Men have also been targets of online abuse from other men and women. Research limitations/implications: Researchers should strive to include mature-aged cohorts. Practical implications: Researchers should not limit themselves to education settings for their sampling. Online abuse may meet the legal definition of “psychic assault”. The recent legislation against online abuse needs to extend beyond protecting young people and children. Social media owners must take more responsibility for the content on their platforms. Social implications: The results from this research strongly suggest that gender alone is no longer pivotal to ones’ vulnerability to online abusers. Originality/value: This research uses a more age-inclusive sample to include the experiences of people aged 25–75, who have largely been excluded from previous studies that have concentrated on the 18–25 age group.

  • Developing creative methodologies: using lyric writing to capture young peoples’ experiences of the youth offending services during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Purpose: The COVID-19 lockdowns (2020–2021) disrupted all aspects of usual functioning of the criminal justice system, the outcomes and impact of which are largely still unknown. The pandemic has affected individuals across the wider society, this includes a negative impact on the social circumstances of children and young people involved within youth offending services (YOS) (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation, 2020; Criminal Justice Joint Inspectorates, 2021). This population frequently represents those from marginalised circumstances and are rarely given the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the services they are involved in. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of the young people serving orders with the YOS during Covid19 lockdowns and requirements. Design/methodology/approach: This paper outlines a creative methodology and method used to uncover the experiences and perceptions of young people undergoing an order within a YOS during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The arts-based approach entailed a novel and creative method using a lyric artist to engage with young people through a virtual platform, supporting them to create lyrics about their experiences of the YOS during this time. Findings: The artist developed a successful rapport with young people based on familiarity with, and passion for, music. He promoted their strengths, improving their confidence which was perceived to elicit more in-depth perspectives that might not have otherwise been obtained using more traditional methods. As such, the method and methodology outlined developed the young people’s social and communicative skills whilst producing meaningful feedback that can contribute to the YOS recovery plan and thus future of the service. Practical implications: This paper reports on a novel arts-based research methodology, implemented to capture meaningful data from participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Originality/value: This paper reports on a novel arts-based research methodology, implemented to capture meaningful data from participants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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