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Title Why is linking serial offences not an exact science Critically examine this view using real example to illistrate your points - Essay Example

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A serial offender is one who commits repetitive offending acts. The term is normally used to refer to violent acts of rape and/or murder. The phrase 'serial killer' was first used in the seventies by Robert Ressler, FBI Agent. A 'serial' killer is a person who has murdered three or more persons…
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Essay Title Why is linking serial offences not an exact science Critically examine this view using real example to illistrate your points
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Download file to see previous pages The insistence on the number of victims being a minimum of three poses a problem in that it may be viewed more as a counting exercise rather than the indicator of a particular state of mind! As stated by Mouzos & West:
"a killer who murders two victims and is apprehended by police prior to committing additional murders, and who exhibits the same or similar characteristics as one who kills five, is also important to our understanding of this phenomenonThe ability of law enforcement agencies and the wider community to understand and manage the risk posed by the serial killer is intrinsically linked to a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the individual and the motivating factors."(Serial Murder-Australia, 2007)
Mouzos & West suggest that further study should be done on those who commit two instead of more murders, and this can be compared with studies already done of the motivations of serial killers. This would lead to an understanding of why-apart from being caught-those who stop at two murders on separate occasions do so. (Serial Murder-Australia, 2007)
The task of linking serial offences cannot be an exact science in the way Physics or Chemistry are, because of the human element involved. Any study of human volition cannot be exact, however much that study may claim to depend on precise mathematical formulae or other measurements. It is the ability to predict, which may be considered as the basis for categorizing a science as exact (pure science) or inexact (humanities). Linking serial offences can ultimately only indicate likelihood rather than certainty, because this involves human volition-both in the commission of the offence by the perpetrator, and in the interpretation of data (this involves discretion) relating to offences.

Let us examine the results of studies on the predictability factor in linking serial offences. The task of "prediction of dangerousness"(Norko & Baranoski, p73, 2008) gained importance in medicine in the seventies and eighties, not because of clinical wisdom or the "quest for testable hypotheses about human behaviour"(Norko & Baranoski, p 73, 2008) but out of a practical need to differentiate between patients who needed to be treated as in-patient, and out-patients, and to decide who could be permitted voluntary care, and who had to compulsorily be given treatment. The criterion of dangerousness was put forward as the basis for making these decisions. This dangerousness criterion and the necessity for doctors to predict its violent eruption became enshrined in several legal decisions between 1960 and 1980. However, as a reaction to this, psychiatrist Bernard Diamond declared that "Neither psychiatrists nor other behavioural scientists are able to predict the occurrence of violent behaviour with sufficient reliability to justify the restriction of freedom on the basis of the label of potential dangerousness." (Diamond, 1974, p 452 in Norko & Baranoski, pp73-74,2008)
Research studies undertaken since 1990 have concluded variously. There are studies that demonstrate a) linkages between mental illness and violence, b) others that do not support such a linkage, and c) yet again other studies that "demonstrate the importance of nonmental health variables in relation to violence."(Norko & Baranosk ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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