Sexual Homicide: Practical Empirical Foundations for Clinicians and Investigators

Dr Rajan Darjee1,2,5, Dr  Michael  Davis2,3,4,5

1Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, 2Forensicare, Melbourne, Australia, 3University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 4Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 5Private Practice, Melbourne, Melbourne

Sexual homicide is a rare but particularly devastating form of offence that invariably causes societal concern. Indeed, many policies for managing the risk posed by sexual offenders have been enacted in response to homicides committed by sexual offenders. Despite the rarity of the phenomenon, there is a developing empirical evidence base which can inform practice in areas such as criminal investigation, forensic mental health assessment, sentencing, criminal justice management, treatment, and rehabilitation. This workshop will present recent research from Australia and New Zealand, as well as an overview of empirical findings from the recent international literature. The first part of the workshop will present findings from a sample of more than 140 Australian and New Zealand cases identified through AustLii and NZLii. The nature of sexual homicide in the Antipodes will be explored and participants will gain an understanding of a) offender, victim, and offence characteristics; b) the overlap with sexual sadism; c) how to differentiate sexual from non-sexual homicide; d) the role and association with mutilation; and e) the nature of multiple perpetrator sexual homicide in this region. The second part of the workshop will comprise a comprehensive overview of empirical research on sexual homicide from around the world, focusing on studies and findings which are of relevance to evidence-based practice for police investigators, forensic mental health practitioners, and  criminal justice personnel. The various findings will be placed in the context of developing theories of relevance to practice and illuminating the challenges faced by practitioners.


Dr Rajan Darjee is Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at the Forensicare Problem Behaviour Program and Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science. He has worked in forensic psychiatry for over 20 years in the UK and in Australia. Areas of clinical interest/expertise: sexual offending, paraphilic disorders, stalking , homicide, risk assessment. Current research: sexual homicide, sex offender risk assessment, sexual sadism, online sexual offending. Co-editor of the Routledge International Handbook of Sexual Homicide Studies.

Dr Michael Davis is a Consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologist from Australia. His practice is divided between forensic clinical assessment tasks (particularly the assessment of risk, personality disorder, and sexual deviance) and providing behavioural investigative advice to police agencies in cases of violent and sexually violent crime. Dr Davis has consulted with police in several countries across three continents and is an Instructor to the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI.

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