Category Archives: Child abuse

Quick links for the last week

New issues:

  • Law and Human Behavior 34(5) Recidivism risk, psychopathy, informants, quality of forensic examiners and more
  • Criminal Justice Matters 81(1) Articles on pre-crime, masculinity & violence, probation, secure envts & more
  • Psychology, Crime & Law 16(8) Articles on execution, prisoners, rape myths, child abuse, eyewitness testimony

New research articles:

  • Murder–suicide: A reaction to interpersonal crises. Forensic Science International 202(1-3)
  • The role of perpetrator similarity in reactions toward innocent victims Eur J Soc Psy 40(6) Depressing.
  • Detecting concealed information w/ reaction times: Validity & comparison w/ polygraph App Cog Psych 24(7)
  • Eliciting cues to children’s deception via strategic disclosure of evidence App Cog Psych 24(7)
  • Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony? App Cog Psych 24(7) Free access
  • In press, B J Soc Psy Cues to deception in context. Apparently ‘context’ = ‘Jeremy Kyle Show’. Can’t wait for the paper!
  • Narrative & abductive processes in criminal profiling Free if u register for Sage trial
  • Children’s contact with incarcerated parents: Research findings & recommendations American Psych 65(6)
  • Comparing victim attributions & outcomes for workplace aggression & sexual harassment in J App Psych 95(5)
  • Correctional Psychologist Burnout, Job Satisfaction, and Life Satisfaction. In Psych Services 7(3)
  • It’s okay to shoot a character. Paper on morals in video games
  • Perceptions about memory reliability and honesty for children of 3 to 18 years old –

And some other links of interest:

Quick links for the last couple of weeks

Oh dear, the automatic Twitter updates feature needs attention. Sigh. Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve been tweeting about:

The most important tweet of the last two weeks was notification that Sage Pubs are offering FREE online access to their entire collection until October 15, 2010. Sage do this every year or so and it’s a great time to stock up new and classic research. Register here:

Once you’ve done that, check out new issues of the following Sage journals:

Also out, the first September issue of JUSTINFO, published by NCJRS. Funding opps, new publications, courses, resources etc

In other non-forensic journals, the following articles caught my eye:

  • Meta-analytic comparison of 9 violence risk assessment tools. Psychological Bulletin 136(5):740-767
  • Construct-driven development of video-based situational judgment test for police integrity
  • Unconfirmed loss of husband has specific negative mental health consequences vs suffering a confirmed loss
  • Social ties & short-term self-reported delinquent behaviour of personality disordered forensic outpatients
  • Prediction & expln of young offenders’ intentions to reoffend from behavioral, normative & control beliefs
  • Psych Bulletin 136(5) Surviving the Holocaust: A meta-analysis of the long-term sequelae of a genocide.
  • Screening offenders for risk of drop-out and expulsion from correctional programmes –
  • Distinguishing truthful from invented accounts using reality monitoring criteria –
  • Can people successfully feign high levels of interrogative suggestibility & compliance when given instructions to malinger?
  • New research – FMRI & deception: “The production and detection of deception in an interactive game” in _Neuropsychologia_
  • And in the free access PLoS1: fMRI study indicates neural activity associated with deception is valence-related. PLoS One 5(8).

Other bits and pieces, including retweets:

  • “How to Catch a Terrorist: Read His Brainwaves-ORLY?” Wired Danger Room is sceptical about P300 tests as CT measure
  • RT@vaughanbell: Good piece on the attempts to get dodgy fMRI lie detection technology introduced to the courtroom.
  • NPR: A Click Away: Preventing Online Child Porn Viewing
  • How Can We Help Gang Members Leave the Violence Behind? Share your thoughts on the newest PsycCRITIQUES Blog entry
  • Do prison conditions have more of a deterrent effect on crime than the death penalty?
  • Great documentary with forensic issues regarding induced delusional or acute polymorphic psychotic disorder:

Research reports round-up

ex libris gul law reports collectionSome of the criminal justice-related reports that have caught my eye in the last few weeks:


Crime and Communities Review (UK, published 18 June, Cabinet Office): A major review examining how to better engage communities in the fight against crime and raise public confidence in the Criminal Justice System – link to pdf downloads.

Gangs at the Grassroots: Community solutions to street violence (UK, published 17 July 2008, New Local Government Network) – pdf


Witness and victim experience survey: early findings (UK, published 3 July 200, Ministry of Justice) – pdf

Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims: A 21st Century Strategy (US, International Association of Chiefs of Police) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

First Response to Victims of Crime (US, published April 2008, National Sheriffs Association) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Police Enforcement Strategies to Prevent Crime in Hot Spot Areas (US, Department of Justice) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators (US, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)


International profile of women’s prisons (UK, published April 2008, Kings College London for HM Prison Service) – pdf (Hat tip Intute)

Prosecuting Sexual Violence in Correctional Settings: Examining Prosecutors’ Perceptions (US, published May 2008, American University, WCL Research Paper, via SSRN)


온라인 룰렛Violence by Teenage Girls: Trends and Context (US, published May 2008, US Department of Justice) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Differential Response to Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect (US, published February 2008, Child Welfare Information Gateway) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Photo credit: ex_libris_gul, Creative Commons License

Criminal Justice and Behavior: Special issue on child sexual abuse and the church

chairs in churchThe May 2008 issue of Criminal Justice and Behavior (Volume 35, No 5) is a special issue on child sexual abuse, particularly timely in view of the Pope’s current visit to the USA.

Abstracts can be accessed here, though you’ll need to pay or have a subscription to view the full articles.

Here are the contents:

  • Karen J. Terry – Stained Glass: The Nature and Scope of Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church
  • Margaret Leland Smith, Andres F. Rengifo, and Brenda K. Vollman – Trajectories of Abuse and Disclosure: Child Sexual Abuse by Catholic Priests
  • Alex R. Piquero, Nicole Leeper Piquero, Karen J. Terry, Tasha Youstin, and Matt Nobles – Collaring the Criminal: Understanding Criminal Careers of Criminal Clerics
  • Anthony D. Perillo, Cynthia Calkins Mercado, and Karen J. Terry – Repeat Offending, Victim Gender, and Extent of Victim Relationship in Catholic Church Sexual Abusers: Implications for Risk Assessment
  • Jennifer A. Tallon and Karen J. Terry – Analyzing Paraphilic Activity, Specialization, and Generalization in Priests Who Sexually Abused Minors
  • Cynthia Calkins Mercado, Jennifer A. Tallon, and Karen J. Terry – Persistent Sexual Abusers in the Catholic Church: An Examination of Characteristics and Offense Patterns
  • Karen J. Terry and Alissa Ackerman – Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: How Situational Crime Prevention Strategies Can Help Create Safe Environments
  • Michael D. White and Karen J. Terry – Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: Revisiting the Rotten Apples Explanation

Photo credit: RichardLowkes, Creative Commons License

Docuticker round up of criminal Justice-related reports

ex libris gul law reports collectionRound-up of reports featured on Docuticker in the last few weeks:

More Men, More Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy (published by Institute for the Study of Labor December 2007):

…This paper exploits two unique features of the Chinese experience: the change in the sex ratio was both large and mainly in response to the implementation of the one-child policy. Using annual province-level data covering the years 1988-2004, we find that a 0.01 increase in the sex ratio raised the violent and property crime rates by some 5-6%, suggesting that the increasing maleness of the young adult population may account for as much as a third of the overall rise in crime. [PDF available]

Law enforcement responses to trafficking in persons: challenges and emerging good practice (published by Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2007):

…This paper focuses on the challenges that may confront law enforcement officials in any country in their efforts to detect trafficking, identify victims, investigate offences and contribute to the successful prosecution of offenders. Drawing on international experience, this paper identifies some examples of emerging good practice that can help to overcome these challenges, and contribute to the effectiveness of the larger criminal justice response to trafficking. [PDF available]

Criminal justice responses to drug and drug-related offending: are they working? (published by Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2007):

…Over the past seven or eight years, almost every state and territory has implemented a range of so-called drug diversion programs that operate at different points along the criminal justice continuum. … If these initiatives are achieving their objectives, then such costs should be more than offset by the benefits accruing to the community through a reduction in illicit drug use and related offending, improved health and wellbeing for former drug dependent offenders and reduced case loads for the criminal justice system. The key question is ‘Are these programs working: are they, in fact, meeting their primary aims?’ This report attempts to provide some insight into these questions by giving an overview of key findings from national and state-based evaluations that have been undertaken of these initiatives. It will summarise the outcome-based results currently available, identify the knowledge gaps that still exist and point to areas where further work is required to provide a more definitive insight into the value of these programs. [PDF available]

Violent Crime in America: A Tale of Two Cities (published by Police Executive Research Forum, November 2007). From the Overview:

…early indications for 2007 suggest that the countermeasures are beginning to have an impact on crime, according to PERF’s latest survey. When the same sample of 56 jurisdictions used in PERF’s previous surveys are analyzed, aggregate crime levels reported by police agencies for the first six months of 2007 show overall reductions in homicides and other violent crimes. Importantly, however, there are still many jurisdictions reporting increases in violent crime. … We are calling this latest violent crime report “A Tale of Two Cities” to reflect this volatility of crime patterns. [PDF available.]

Sexual Victimization in State and Federal Prisons Reported by Inmates, 2007 (published by Bureau of Justice Statistics, December 2007):

An estimated 4.5 percent of state and federal prisoners reported a sexual victimization in a survey mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today… The survey was conducted in 146 state and federal prisons between April and August 2007, with a sample of 23,398 inmates. [PDF available]

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: What Do We Know and What Do We Do About It? (published by National Institute of Justice, December 2007):

Much investigation remains to be done regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). As with other “low visibility” crimes, there is a lurking “dark figure” of unreported cases. Moreover, little reliable information exists about the types of people who exploit children in this way. Research has revealed that CSEC takes place at three levels: local exploitation by one or a few individuals, small regional networks involving multiple adults and children, and large national or international sex crime networks where children are traded and sold as commodities. [PDF available]

Photo credit: 온라인 룰렛ex_libris_gul, Creative Commons License

Quick links – investigations, courtroom, punishment, profiling and more


Quick links from around the web and blogosphere:

Investigations and courtroom :

The Sunday Times (25 Nov) reports on a new facial morphing technique called EvoFIT “that transforms the Photofit faces of criminal suspects into animated caricatures up to seven times more likely to be recognised than standard likenesses”. The system was developed by UK psychologists, one of whom commented that using the new system leads to “…a massive jump in the level of recognition [which] is really reliable”. Lots more information including plenty of downloadable papers on the EvoFIT webpages .

The Eyewitness Identification Reform blog highlights scholarly commentary on the effectiveness of cross-examination for getting at the truth of eyewitness evidence.

Following a detailed and extensively researched analysis, Prof. Epstein [the author of the commentary] concludes that the highly revered truth-seeking tool of cross-examination, while perhaps effective at rooting out liars, is utterly ineffective at uncovering the truth when faced with a witness who is confident, but honestly mistaken about what he or she remembers – which accounts for the majority of cases in which mistaken identification has led to wrongful conviction.

Mo over at Neurophilosophy (a great blog that doesn’t often post on forensic issues) discusses research on creating false memories by doctoring photographs. Participants who saw altered images had different memories of the events in the photographs:

For example, those participants shown the doctored photograph of [a] protest in Rome…in which figures placed in the foreground give the impression of violence, rated the event as being significantly more violent and negative than it actually was. In their comments, they also provided false details, such as conflicts, damages, injuries and casualties that did not appear in the photos and were not documented at the event.

The whole issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology is about ‘cognition and the media’ and includes other papers on the fallability of memory, which will be of use to anyone interested in eyewitness memory.

Anne Reed at the fabulous Deliberations blog reports on research into the Grim Power of Grim Evidence. Apparently “jurors presented with gruesome evidence, such as descriptions or images of torture and mutilation, are up to five times more likely to convict a defendant than jurors not privy to such evidence.”


The ever-interesting Karen Franklin comments on juvenile detention, and starts by posing some simple questions with disturbing answers. Did you know, for instance, that only two nations sentence children to life in prison? According to Karen, they?are Israel, with 7?child?lifers, and the USA, with an astonishing 2,387 child lifers.

Michael Connolly at Corrections Sentencing offers a detailed discussion of an article which “calls for broad application of empirical psychology to the study of the motive behind punishments”. The article is in press and due to appear in 2008.

  • Reference: Carlsmith, K.M., & Darley, J.M. (in press). Psychological aspects of retributive justice. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, M. Zanna, Ed. (Elsevier, NY, 2008) vol. 41.


The criminal psychopath is the topic of a post at Top Two Inches, and over at the Deception Blog, a comment on research on whether psychopathic liars give themselves away through their verbal behaviour.


Crimson Shadows posts (with permission) the full text of ex-FBI profiler John Douglas’s response to Malcolm Gladwell’s article on profiling that appeared in the New Yorker last month. Douglas argues that Gladwell’s article misrepresents the science and practice of profiling.


Terrific analysis of?an fMRI study linking paedophilia to differences in the brain?over?at?the?Brain?Ethics?blog, ?critiquing both the method and the interpretation?of?the?results?of?this?study.??In?sum?“at the least, just because the brain shows a difference, one cannot conclude anything beyond this about causation.”

The BPS Research Digest has also included a couple of forensically relevant posts recently: detecting feigned mental retardation and inter-ethnic violence.

As well as the post on juvenile detention mentioned above, Karen Franklin’s posted a lot of other good stuff recently too, including pointing us towards a Canadian news article on false confessions, commenting on how the UK is considering stricter controls on the use of expert scientific evidence, and a great piece on tracking serial killers in South Africa.

Romeo Vitelli’s Providentia blog reports on an intervention program for young victims of violence, child abuse and brain development, and an usual case of car fetishism.

Photo credit: bigeoino, Creative Commons License

Healthcare providers reported to be failing to spot abuse

A sad story in the Observer (11 Nov) reports that healthcare providers are ‘failing to spot child abuse’:

Doctors and social workers are failing children who end up in hospital after abuse or neglect by their parents, a government-funded inquiry has found. Some are discharged from casualty departments and allowed to go home, despite suspicious injuries such as a black eye or broken arm, because they are not identified as being at risk, states a report by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) charity.

Doctors and nurses say specialist social workers are overworked and often reluctant to intervene, even if it is thought children are likely to suffer further harm. Social workers, for their part, told researchers they were ‘frustrated with medical staff who were not prepared to make a decision about whether a child’s injury was accidental or not’ because they did not want to be the one that ‘labelled’ a family as abusive.

Earlier this month a new 온라인 룰렛study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that in the US physicians and nurses “typically asked [women reporting to emergency departments] about domestic violence in a perfunctory manner”.

Although so often the emergency room is the first time that abuse – of intimate partners or of children – comes to the attention of the authorities, it seems that healthcare providers are poorly equipped to notice and to deal with it.


Abstract below the fold.

Continue reading Healthcare providers reported to be failing to spot abuse

New issue: Child Abuse and Neglect 31(8)


The August 2007 issue of Child Abuse and Neglect 31(8) is now online. Follow the link to the Science Direct website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • The promise and limitations of home visiting: Implementing effective programs – Deanna S. Gomby
  • Impact of a statewide home visiting program to prevent child abuse – Anne Duggan, Debra Caldera, Kira Rodriguez, Lori Burrell, Charles Rohde and Sarah Shea Crowne
  • Impact of a statewide home visiting program on parenting and on child health and development – Debra Caldera, Lori Burrell, Kira Rodriguez, Sarah Shea Crowne, Charles Rohde and Anne Duggan
  • Psychometric evaluation and comparison of three retrospective, multi-item measures of childhood sexual abuse – Polly A. Hulme
  • Female sexual-offenders: Personality pathology as a mediator of the relationship between childhood sexual abuse history and sexual abuse perpetration against others – Kelly Christopher, Catherine J. Lutz-Zois and Amanda R. Reinhardt
  • Non-abused preschool children’s perception of an anogenital examination – Kari Gulla, Gred Eva Fenheim, Arne K. Myhre and Stian Lydersen
  • Cognitive processes associated with child neglect – Kathryn Hildyard and David Wolfe
  • Reliability of the GAF and CGAS with children exposed to trauma – Katherine Blake, Scott Cangelosi, Sonja Johnson-Brooks and Harolyn M.E. Belcher

Talking to sex offenders

lockeddoorA few weeks ago PCN featured a journal article on talking to sex offenders. Now, courtesy of the BBC (30 Oct), news that the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has set up a behavioural analysis unit to better understand sex offenders. Psychologists are conducting interviews with imprisoned offenders. As the BBC story explains:

These interviews are being recorded, with 1,000 hours already having been collected, and then analysed by experts to learn more about offenders and their motivation. The point of the unit… is to “improve knowledge about offenders, why they do what they do and how we can prevent that from happening”.

Ceop tackles child sex abuse and its new unit has a staff of four, which includes forensic psychologists and specialists in forensic behaviour analysis, who believe most sex offenders can be deterred from committing a crime …The unit’s staff go into prisons and conduct the interviews themselves, asking open-ended questions in an attempt to get the offenders talking.

According to a spokesperson:

“We have a theoretical model that we work to called the spiral of abuse, and the idea is that if you can intercept someone at some point on the spiral, you can stop them. That’s the theory, but it does depend on the individual.”

In a second story on the BBC News website we learn that the Ceop unit is “based on a similar FBI unit in the US” and that Ceop has also:

launched its own educational academy. Child protection workers from a number of fields, including police and the charity sector, will be able to study for a University of Central Lancashire-accredited qualification. [Ceop head Jim] Gamble said that would help create a field of experts with up-to-date knowledge of child protection techniques.

The Ceop press release, on which the BBC stories are based, can be found here.

Photo credit: Still_Burning, Creative Commons License

Articles of forensic interest in the July issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry


Some articles of forensic interest in the July 2007 issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 77(3) . Follow the link for access to abstracts and full text articles.

  • Posttraumatic Distress and Growth Among Wives of Prisoners of War: The Contribution of Husbands’ Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Wives’ Own Attachment – Rachel Dekel
  • Tomorrow’s Players Under Occupation: An Analysis of the Association of Political Violence With Psychological Functioning and Domestic Violence, Among Palestinian Youth – Alean Al-Krenawi, John R. Graham and Mahmud A. Sehwail
  • Do Urban Adolescents Become Desensitized to Community Violence? Data From a National Survey – Michael R. McCart, Daniel W. Smith, Benjamin E. Saunders, Dean G. Kilpatrick, Heidi Resnick and Kenneth J. Ruggiero
  • Children’s Self-Reports About Violence Exposure: An Examination of the Things I Have Seen and Heard Scale – Richard Thompson, Laura J. Proctor, Cindy Weisbart, Terri L. Lewis, Diana J. English, Jon M. Hussey and Desmond K. Runyan
  • Longitudinal Helpseeking Patterns Among Victims of Intimate Partner Violence: The Relationship Between Legal and Extralegal Services – Lauren Bennett Cattaneo, Jeffrey Stuewig, Lisa A. Goodman, Stacey Kaltman and Mary Ann Dutton
  • Adolescent Female Murderers: Characteristics and Treatment Implications – Dominique Roe-Sepowitz