Sunday, June 03, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, June 3, 2007


NCJ 218212
Kelly N. Graves
Not Always Sugar and Spice: Expanding Theoretical and Functional Explanations for Why Females Aggress
Aggression and Violent Behavior
Volume:12 Issue:2 Dated:March-April 2007 Pages:131 to 140

This review of research on the recent surge in violence rates among female adolescents across the United States addresses risk and protective factors linked to youth violence, with attention to why particular risk and protective factors are apparently stronger predictors of female violence than male violence. Recent research has shown that violent behavior by females throughout adolescence has increased across cultures in the United States (Offord et al., 1992). Because of different socialization patterns for females compared to males, along with differing risk and protective factors, treatment programs must be tailored to the distinctive and individualized needs of female adolescents. Within the study sample, the number of females who engaged in violent behavior increased by 227 percent during the ages of 12-16 compared to females ages 4-11. Although both males and females show an increase in violent behaviors during adolescence, the progression of violent behavior tends to be faster for females compared to males, although females tend to begin violent behaviors slightly later than males. The link between alcohol use frequency and violence is stronger for females compared to males. Adolescent females who behave violently are also almost four times more likely to be dependent on substances compared to adolescent females who do not behave violently. In addition, violence co-occurs with mental disorders such as depression, particularly among females (Crick, Geiger, and Zimmer-Gembeck, 2003; McCloskey and Herrera, 2003). Peer influences are also stronger predictors of female violence compared to male violence, possibly because friendships are more central to female identities compared to males. Other factors related to violence by female adolescents are childhood sexual abuse and maternal hostile behaviors. Factors that protect female adolescents from the development of violent behaviors are adaptability, problem-solving ability, resourcefulness, communication, warmth, and general social competence, along with family involvement and authoritative parenting practices. 87 references

NCJ 218219
Louis B. Schlesinger
Sexual Homicide: Differentiating Catathymic and Compulsive Murders
Aggression and Violent Behavior
Volume:12 Issue:2 Dated:March-April 2007 Pages:242 to 256

This paper reviews difficulties in the study of sexual homicide and discusses two types of sexual murder: catathymic and compulsive. Research on sexual homicide is problematic because it is not defined by statute, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has never defined sexual homicide as a paraphilia. In addition there are clear distinctions among a sexual murder, in which the killing itself is sexually arousing; a murder committed in order to cover up a sexual crime; and a homicide that has some sexual component, but has unclear motivation. In addition to definitional and crime-incidence complexities in research on sexual homicide, there are several practical obstacles to research in this area. First, sexual homicide is a rare event. Second, unlike sexual offenders, sexual murderers are not labeled as such either legally or institutionally. This makes it difficult to identify them for research purposes. Third, when a sexual murderer is evaluated, his background, which is important for understanding motivational dynamics, is often incomplete and inaccurate because of various legal restriction as well as personal motives to lie, exaggerate, and distort. Fourth, for years mental health professionals have worked independently of other professionals (e.g., criminal investigators) who have a wealth of information on sexual homicide, but from a different (crime scene analysis) perspective. The discussion of catathymic and compulsive sexual homicides is sometimes problematic. Both types of sexual murder have a basis in underlying sexual conflict; however, the nature of the sexual conflict differs. Catathymic homicides are typically single explosions triggered by some type of challenge to the individual's sense of sexual competence. Compulsive sexual homicides stem from a longstanding and developing urge to kill, which itself is eroticized. Implications are drawn for the treatment and prevention of these two types of sexual homicide. 80 references

NCJ 218313
P. McClellan
Courts in the 21st Century--Should We Do Things Differently?
Judicial Review
Volume:8 Issue:1 Dated:September 2006 Pages:23 to 37

This paper assesses the historical development of civil and criminal court proceedings in Australia and assesses what might be done differently in courts of the 21st century. Australia inherited the adversarial system, and it persists under the belief that it is the most effective means of resolving disputes and achieving a fair process for conducting civil and criminal proceedings. Dissatisfaction with the cost, inefficiency, effectiveness, and timeliness of formal adversarial proceedings, however, has led to the development of alternative dispute mechanisms, including plea bargaining, mediation, arbitration, and conferencing. The trend is toward offering a variety of options for handling particular civil and criminal cases, depending on the nature of the dispute/offense and the preferences and resources of the parties involved. Efforts to increase the efficiency and accessibility of litigation procedures have been advanced through the use of technology. Technology has influenced communication, information management, and evidence presentation in the context of court proceedings. This paper also discusses trends in the nature and scope of evidence based in expert analysis and testimony, rules of evidence, sentencing, the right of a citizen to use a court to enforce a public right ("standing"), the oral tradition, and the use of juries. In a concluding statement, the author notes that over the latter part of the 20th century western societies have demanded that government and private corporations increase efficiency in the use of the available capital resources, both physical and human. The same expectations have been directed at the courts. Judges, court administrators, and lawyers will be required to modify existing practices in order to ensure that available resources are used efficiently. Policymakers and practitioners will therefore be continually pressured to find more efficient, effective, and accessible ways of addressing crimes and disputes.

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