A UNIVERSITY of Huddersfield lecturer’s book on the psychology of crime has been an international success, leading to a second edition that includes a new chapter covering violence between intimate partners – a topic that is of mounting global concern.
The book is Criminological and Forensic Psychology, by Dr Helen Gavin. Dealing with a comprehensive range of subjects that includes the criminal mind, juvenile criminals, terrorism, the psychology of homicide, courtroom processes and the role of psychology in detection and investigation, it was first published in 2014.
Containing a plethora of case studies, showing how psychology can be used to explain real-life crimes, it rapidly became established as a key textbook, for students and teachers as well as practitioners.
Dr Gavin – who is Subject Lead in the University’s Department of Psychology – was asked to prepare a second edition, incorporating the latest research from around the world.
“The publishers also suggested there was a lot of international interest in people experiencing domestic violence and domestic homicide. So now it’s got a new chapter on intimate partner violence,” said Dr Gavin, adding that aggression against women is a major focus for the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The WHO is currently campaigning on the issue, and has statistics which show that 35 per cent of women worldwide experience either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
One of Dr Gavin’s key areas of research is female aggression – she has authored a book on the subject – and she is currently investigating the psychology of domestic homicide by women against husbands or partners.
“More often than not, women kill husbands because they are afraid of them, because they themselves are being battered. The victim of the abuse kills the abuser. But sometimes, they kill for very different reasons,” said Dr Gavin, who is collaborating with her University of Huddersfield colleague Dr Maria Ioannou on plans for research on the topic.
“I have contacts across the world so we will look at it globally,” said Dr Gavin.
She uses Criminological and Forensic Psychology in her own teaching. “That’s what I wrote it for!” said Dr Gavin. And she has colleagues around the world who use it as a textbook.
“It brings together all of the topics that someone who is teaching or researching forensic psychology might look at,” said Dr Gavin.
“It looks at a broad base of forensic and criminal psychology so that it supports teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I use case studies extensively so that practitioners – such as psychologists, police, social workers or anybody involved with criminals or victims of crime – can use it as a work of reference.”