Looking for a needle in the haystack: arsonists with intellectual disability in Australia

Curtis, Ashlee, McVilly, Keith, and Day, Andrew (2015) Looking for a needle in the haystack: arsonists with intellectual disability in Australia. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 22 (3). pp. 444-452.

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Arson attracts substantial penalties in Australia, reflecting the serious consequences of the crime. It is often asserted that people with intellectual disability are particularly likely to commit arson offences, and yet it is difficult to establish the prevalence in this population. This study sought to describe the characteristics of those people appearing in Australian Courts who have an intellectual disability and have been charged with arson. A search of the AustLII, LexisNexisAU and WestLawAU databases over the 10-year period from 2003 to 2013 identified 50 arson convictions reported in case law. Of these, six involved an offender with an identified intellectual disability. These offenders were likely to have committed other crimes at the time, or to have prior offences and were likely to receive longer sentences of imprisonment than their non-intellectually disabled counterparts. These findings are discussed in terms of the barriers that exist to understanding more about this under-researched population.

Item ID: 47210
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1934-1687
Keywords: arson, disability, intellectual disability, fire-setting
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 07:50
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170104 Forensic Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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