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Chapter 7

PSYC39 - Psych and the Law - Chapter 7: Violent Offending

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University of Toronto St. George
David Nussbaum

Chapter 7: violent Offending – General Violence and Homicide Prevalence of Violence:  Violent crime = 1/8 criminal incidents in Canada  Violent crime reported to police in 2007 = 930/100,000 ppl o Decreased since in 1990s o Lowest rate in Ontario; highest = Sask  Robbery = consider violent offence = involves at the very least an implied threat of violence o Robbery rate = 90 per 100,000 ppl o 11% of all robberies = firearm o 60% = no weapon o PEI = lowest rate of robbery o Manitoba = highest  Violent crime by youth (12-17) increased fairly steadily over past 20 yrs o Violent crime reported by youth = 6811/100,000 ppl  General Social Survey on Victimization o Canadian population age 15 and older on their criminal victimation o Only 33% of violent incidents reported to police o Reporting rates highest for robbery (46%)  Then physical assaults  Sexual assaults (8) Victim Characteristics:  Similar rates of violent victimization – 102 per 1000 for women; 111 per 1000 for men  Rate of violent victimation highest among those aged 15-24  Hostile aggression = affective, impulsive, reactive, emotional and expressive aggression  Instrumental aggression = predatory, premeditated, proactive aggression  Differ in the ultimate goal – but the proximate goal for both is to harm the victim  Intstrumental aggression rating measure – to assess extent to which violence is instrumental versus horstile THEORIES TO EXPLAIN VIOLENCE: 1) Social Learning Theory a. Aggression = learned; more rewarding than non-aggressive alternatives b. Expected outcomes influence the likelihood & extent of aggressive beh c. Operant condition – beh shaped by consequesnces d. Vicarious learngin e. Self-reinforcement – inlfuecen of self-administered rewards or punishments for aggression  mediated by cognition (attention, perception, memory, resulting expectancies) 2) General Aggression Model a. Integration of smaller, more specific theories b. Components = inputs from the person, situation, routes (cognitive, affective and arousal states) that mediate the influence of inputs, the appreaisal and decision process that lead to a particular action in the episode c. Outcome influences social encounter which then provides inputs in next epsidoes 3) Evolutionary Psychological Perspective a. Most violent ppl fall in one of 3 groups: i. Young men 1. Limited to adolescence ii. Competitively disadvantaged men 1. Life-course persistent iii. Psychopaths 1. Life-course persistent 2. Not competitively disadvantaged but select short-term high-risk strategies as an alternate RISK ASSESSMENT: Approaches 4 VIOLENCE risk assessment:  4 key categories: o Unstructured clinical judgement  Estimate of risk based on assessor’s own idiosyncratic decisions about what factors to consider and how to combine those factors o Empirical actuarial  Based on observed statistical relationships w/ recidivism  tables o Mechanical  Based on theory or reviews of empirical lit  No tables o Structured professional judgment  Combines unstructured clinical judgment and actuarial approach  Explicit guidelines about which factors to consider but combo of those factors = up to assessor  Instruments: o 1) Violence Risk Appraisal Guide  Empirical actuarial  12 static items  Scores can range from -26 to +38 – higher risk of recidivism if higher score  Scores Grouped into 9 risk categories, each containing 7 pts o 2) HCR-20 Violence Risk Assessment Scheme  Structured professional judgment  10 historical terms – static, reflect past  Previous violence  Young age at first violent incident  Relationshop instability  Employment issues  Major mental illness  Psychopathy  Early maladjustment  Personality disorder  Prior supervision failure  5 clinical terms – dynamic, current functioning  Lack of insight  Negative attitudes  Active symptoms of major mental illness  Impulsivity and unresponsive to treatment  5 risk magamgent items – future ci
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