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Age effects on juvenile homicide perpetration

Laura Hammond (International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology (IRCIP), University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Maria Ioannou (International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology (IRCIP), University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 3 August 2015




In order to address a notable gap in the research literature, the purpose of this paper is to examine age-related differences in juvenile homicide perpetration.


Data on 150 juvenile homicide offenders and their offences was derived from material available within the public domain, including media reports, case studies, court reports and previously published studies. Comparisons were then made between those aged 14 and under (n=63) and those aged 14-17 (n=87) across a range of offender, victim and offence-related variables.


There were no significant differences between the child (U-14) and adolescent (14-17) offender samples on any of the measured variables. The two groups had similar backgrounds, selected similar types of victims, had comparable breakdowns of different types of victim-offender relationship and had similar patterns of weapon use.

Research limitations/implications

The fact that the two groups did not differ significantly has notable implications in practical and applied domains. By identifying risk factors for juvenile homicide perpetration, findings open up a range of possibilities for identification, investigation and intervention. In addition, findings might inform the development of offender treatment and rehabilitation programmes. Key limitations relate to the quality and quantity of data employed. Ways of remedying these weaknesses in future research are addressed.


This is the first study to directly compare child and adolescent perpetrators of homicide over a broad range of offender, victim and offence attributes.



Hammond, L. and Ioannou, M. (2015), "Age effects on juvenile homicide perpetration", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 163-176.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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