The burning issue: why do people with intellectual disability commit arson?

Orchard, Amelia (2013) The burning issue: why do people with intellectual disability commit arson? MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (374kB)


    Arson is a crime that can have devastating consequences, but is easy to commit and takes little skill. There is evidence to suggest that intellectually disabled offenders are over-represented in the arsonist population. However, arson and in particular the intellectually disabled arsonists are under researched.
    This dissertation aims to examine the characteristics and the motivations of offenders with intellectual disability that commit arson. This was achieved by retrospectively collating data from the medical records of 32 intellectually disabled arsonists that were referred for treatment at a medium secure specialist psychiatric hospital.
    Three quarters of the sample had a history of setting previous fires. Other common characteristics include alcohol use, living independently and possessing other general criminological variables such as having a history of committing other offences and childhood conduct disorder. The most common reasons cited for setting fires were feeling angry, wanting revenge and excitement around fires. External factors were also important such as a precipitating argument or wanting to move to different accommodation.
    The limitations of the study and the implications of the results are discussed. The results could be used to inform further research and guide risk assessment and treatment.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2014 14:27
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:34

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads

    More statistics for this item...