Examining offender, victim and offence characteristics in cases of stranger child abduction: an exploratory comparison of attempted and completed cases using publicly available data from the UK

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Abstract

The article examines the demographic features of victims and offenders involved in cases of stranger child abduction in the UK, performing a quantitative, secondary data analysis of a sample of 78 offences that have received a conviction in the UK since 1988. Information was gathered via a study of media and legal databases. The profiles of attempted and completed cases of stranger child abduction are compared to ascertain the relationship between case characteristics and offence outcome.

Findings indicated that while females victims are targeted more frequently overall, male victims are at greater risk of being abducted successfully by strangers. Females are more likely to be approached by non-specialist offenders, whereas male victims are more likely to be targeted by chronic child sex offenders. Victims aged 10 were found to be at risk of being victimized successfully, while attempted victimization was even across all victim age groups. Finally, older offenders were found to be more persistent, with younger offenders discontinuing their offence earlier in the behavioural sequence.

The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations for future research made. The continued analysis of abduction offences utilizing the attempted-completed distinction is also strongly encouraged and endorsed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-82
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Volume35
Early online date16 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Keywords

  • stranger child abduction
  • offending history
  • victim age
  • offender age
  • victim sex
  • crime prevention

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