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Sexual Homicide: a Criminological Perspective

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Chopin Julien, Beauregard Eric,
Project Détection de patterns situationnels dynamiques et implication dans la résolution des crimes sexuels de prédation
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Current Psychiatry Reports
Volume (Issue) 21(12)
Page(s) 120 - 120
Title of proceedings Current Psychiatry Reports
DOI 10.1007/s11920-019-1107-z


Purpose of Review This review presents recent findings of research focusing on sexual homicide. Firstly, we examine international comparative studies of victim, offender, and crime characteristics. Secondly, we review an important body of literature that compares developmental and psychological as well as the decision-making process of sexual murderers with other violent offenders. Thirdly, recent and major findings on links between sexual homicide and psychopathy as well as sadism are presented. Fourthly, findings on spatial behavior and factors that can explain it are discussed. Finally, the last section reviews characteristics of sexual homicide involving children and elderly victims. Recent Findings International comparisons suggest that sexual homicide presents more similarities than differences across countries implying that most of knowledge can be generalized and applied to other countries. Comparisons with other types of violent offenders highlight that sexual murderers are a specific type of offenders with particular characteristics (criminal careers, developmental factors, personality disorders, lifestyle characteristics) and crime commission process (modus operandi, spatial behavior). As to the etiological factors of sexual homicide, psychopathy and sadism are important characteristics of sexual murderers leading their criminal life as well as their everyday life. Finally, studies focusing on specific types of vulnerable victims showed a high level of heterogeneity within the population of sexual murderers. Summary Sexual murderers are specific offenders with peculiar characteristics and further research should develop proper knowledge on it. Creation of new international databases allows research to confirm and increase knowledge by considering sexual homicides as a complex heterogenous crime.