The special problem of arson fireraising

Herschel Prins

Brief historical context

The size of the problem

The law in the United Kingdom

Classification, .motivation,, and management classification

Somejeneralcharacteristics., offire-raisers Motivation Management

Conclusion Furtherreading Chapter References

Fire is a good servant but a bad master (seventeenth-century proverb)

A few words of explanation are necessary regarding the title of this chapter. Why is the phenomenon of arson (fire-raising) a special problem, and why is there a dual title? The latter aspect is dealt with first. In England and Wales, arson is the legal term used to describe acts of unlawful fire-raising. However, this term is not in universal use; readers will find that in various other countries (notably North America), the preferred terms are fire-raising, fire-setting, incendiarism and, in certain specific cases, pyromania and pathological fire-raising. (i> The term fire-raising is used here since the other terms can be subsumed under it.(2) It constitutes a special problem not only because it is regarded as a very serious form of criminal behaviour, but because its detection is notoriously difficult, it is an offence that can be committed at 'one remove' by the offender, and it may involve many (sometimes unintended) victims. Forensic psychiatrists will meet a number of fire-raisers in the course of their work and there will probably be few general psychiatrists who will not have had to deal with one or two cases. This is because, in England and Wales, the High Court suggested some years ago that psychiatric reports were advisable in all cases where the motivation for the offence seemed in doubt. However, Soothill(3) has suggested that there are dangers in seeking psychiatric explanations in cases where the behaviour is merely baffling, since this tends to medicalize socially problematic behaviour.

Funny Wiring Autism

Funny Wiring Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.

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