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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2022

Katie Sambrooks, Lona Lockerbie, Shahid Majid and Theresa Gannon

Virtual reality (VR) is a novel technology that could be used in the assessment and/or treatment of deliberate firesetting. This study aims to develop an understanding of…

Abstract

Purpose

Virtual reality (VR) is a novel technology that could be used in the assessment and/or treatment of deliberate firesetting. This study aims to develop an understanding of clinicians’ views of VR for deliberate firesetting, to identify areas where VR could potentially add value to current practice and any particular barriers to using VR in this context.

Design/methodology/approach

Through an online survey, 73 clinicians rated their agreement with nine potential benefits of using VR for firesetting and 11 potential barriers to using it. They also provided free text responses detailing the greatest perceived potential benefit and the greatest perceived barrier. Factors related to intent to use VR for firesetting in the future were explored.

Findings

Clinicians perceived the ability to safely expose clients to fire-related stimuli to be highly beneficial. However, clinicians were concerned about the possibility of re-traumatisation and logistic barriers. Previous experience of using VR with individuals who have set fires was significantly related to using it in the future.

Practical implications

Further research establishing the feasibility and effectiveness of using VR with individuals who have set fires may help alleviate clinicians’ concerns. Increasing opportunities for clinicians to experience a firesetting VR programme may widen the implementation of firesetting VR.

Originality/value

Previous research has only focused on clinicians’ perceptions of VR in the general field of forensic mental health and has failed to consider offence-specific applications.

Details

The Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 28 June 2022

Joanna Foster

This paper aims to outline the first stages of an exploratory study into how the UK fire and rescue services (FRSs) identify those children and young people who require…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to outline the first stages of an exploratory study into how the UK fire and rescue services (FRSs) identify those children and young people who require psychosocial interventions to address their firesetting behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

A purposive sample (N = 53) representing all the UK FRSs was recruited. Participants completed an online survey to establish the type of firesetting intervention provided, if any; the training and policies available to staff who identify those clients requiring psychosocial interventions and what influences this decision-making.

Findings

Decision-making on how to identify clients requiring psychosocial interventions was dominated by professional judgement informed by practitioner training and experience alone, which is subject to human error and bias. Some staff undertaking this risk-critical work have no access to training and/or written guidance to assist their decision-making. Nearly 30% of participants (N = 14) deemed national firesetting policy as not useful in identifying the type of firesetting intervention needed. The development of a risk assessment tool, training and national written guidance were considered the three main ways staff could be helped in identifying those clients requiring psychosocial interventions.

Practical implications

The implications are as follows: the development of a risk assessment tool for fire and rescue service staff working with children and young people who set fires, a requirement for all fire and rescue staff working with children and young people who set fires to receive mandatory training in this specialist field of work, all FRSs to offer firesetting intervention services to children and young people, all FRSs to have written firesetting policies that assist staff in their identification of firesetting risk and national firesetting guidance for FRSs that assists staff in their identification of firesetting risk and the tenets of defensible decision-making.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first study to look at how the UK FRSs identify those children and young people requiring psychosocial interventions to address their firesetting behaviour. The 100% completion rate to the online survey suggests the findings are generalisable across all the UK FRSs, providing the FRS professional body with an opportunity to instigate the changes their frontline practitioners and managers have identified.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 January 2022

Emma R. Barrowcliffe, Nichola Tyler and Theresa A. Gannon

This study aims to assess the prevalence of firesetting in a sample of young UK adults aged 18 to 23 years and to compare their characteristics with non-firesetting individuals.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to assess the prevalence of firesetting in a sample of young UK adults aged 18 to 23 years and to compare their characteristics with non-firesetting individuals.

Design/methodology/approach

Two-hundred and forty male (n = 119, 49.6%) and female (n = 121, 50.4%) participants were recruited through Prolific Academic. Comparisons were made between self-reported firesetting and non-firesetting participants on a range of demographic, fire-related and personality measures. Factors predictive of firesetting status were examined using hierarchical logistic regression.

Findings

Twenty-five percent of participants (n = 60) reported igniting a deliberate fire. Logistic regression was used to examine the ability of parental supervision and behavioural issues (e.g., witnessing domestic violence, experimenting with fire before age 10 and family history of firesetting), antisocial behaviours (e.g., having criminal friends, impulsivity, teenage access to fire paraphernalia, skipping class more than once per week, taken any illegal drugs and participation in criminal behaviour) and fire-related interests, attitudes and propensities in predicting firesetting status. Factors found to distinguish firesetting and non-firesetting participants included the following: experimented with fire before 10 years of age, family history of firesetting, impulsivity, teenage access to fire paraphernalia, participation in criminal behaviour and the Fire Setting Scale.

Practical implications

The results provide key information about potential risk factors relating to un-apprehended firesetting in the general population.

Originality/value

This research adds to the small body of literature examining firesetting in the general population. It refines previously used methodologies, presents the first research study to examine the prevalence of firesetting behaviour in emerging adults and enhances our understanding of un-apprehended firesetting.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 September 2014

Clive G. Long, Geoffrey Dickens and Olga Dolley

The purpose of this paper is to assess the antecedent behaviours and consequences of firesetting for women in a secure psychiatric setting along with treatment engagement…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the antecedent behaviours and consequences of firesetting for women in a secure psychiatric setting along with treatment engagement factors. To explore predictions made about emotionally expressive subtype firesetters by the multi-trajectory theory of adult firesetting (M-TTAF).

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 75 individual firesetting episodes involving 25 female multiple firesetters were assessed using the St Andrew's Fire and Arson Risk Instrument. Assessments were made of treatment readiness, firesetting related self-efficacy, insight and barriers to change.

Findings

Findings support the relationship between recidivist firesetting and the psychological features of psychosis, personality disorder and substance misuse. The reported association of firesetting with suicidal thoughts, depression, interpersonal problems, anger/revenge motivation and lack of planning supports the view that behaviour is used to manage distressing life experience and as a “cry for help”. However, in a quarter of incidents there was an intention to harm others and evidence of premeditation in twelve percent. A small but significant minority lacked insight into their behaviour, were not ready for treatment and had low firesetting related self-efficacy. Predictions made by the M-TTAF about likely clinical features and motivators of emotionally expressive firesetters were largely supported.

Originality/value

The study highlights the importance of a detailed and specific risk assessment of firesetting that leads to identification of individual risk factors and an individualised treatment approach. This is of particular importance given the complex problems presented by women in secure settings and by the diversity of the conditions associated with fires set by each individual.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2013

Troy Tranah and Jennifer Nicholas

The aim of this paper is to review the current literature on working with young people with intellectual disabilities who commit arson.

668

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to review the current literature on working with young people with intellectual disabilities who commit arson.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of assessment methods and interventions involving young people with intellectual disabilities who start fires was completed. It explores the trends across the population of firesetters as a whole and also compares how treatment implications may differ for young people with and without an intellectual disability.

Findings

The paper outlines the core risk factors to be investigated within an assessment of a young firesetter with intellectual disabilities. In terms of treatment, the best current approach appears to be a combination of education and cognitive behavioural approaches including social skills training. Other treatment modalities, e.g. joint interventions provided by fire services and mental health services, are also discussed.

Originality/value

Given the lack of available literature on young firesetters with intellectual disabilities it is hoped that this paper will be useful in guiding clinicians working in this area and also prompt future research regarding treatment with this client group.

Details

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-1282

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 December 2019

Søren Holst, Dorte Lystrup and John L. Taylor

The purpose of this paper is to gather epidemiologicalinformation concerning firesetters with intellectual disabilities (ID) in Denmark to identify the assessment and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gather epidemiologicalinformation concerning firesetters with intellectual disabilities (ID) in Denmark to identify the assessment and treatment needs of this population and inform further research in this area.

Design/methodology/approach

The records held by the Danish Ministry of Justice concerning all firesetters with ID convicted of deliberate firesetting were reviewed for the period January 2001 to December 2010 inclusive. File information was extracted for 83 offenders concerning: demographic and personal characteristics; mental health characteristics; offending behaviour; offence-specific factors; and motives for offending. A sub-group of seven offenders were interviewed to explore some of the themes that emerged from the file review.

Findings

The majority of study participants were male and were classified as having mild ID and around 50 per cent had additional mental health problems. Many came from disturbed and deprived backgrounds. Two-thirds had set more than one fire and over 60 per cent had convictions for offences other than firesetting. Alcohol was involved in the firesetting behaviour in a significant proportion of cases (25 per cent). The motives for setting fires were – in descending order – communication (of anger, frustration and distress), fire fascination and vandalism. Interviews with participants indicated the important communicative function of firesetting, the difficulties people had in talking about and acknowledging their firesetting behaviour, and lack of access to targeted interventions.

Research limitations/implications

Interventions for Danish firesetters with ID, as for firesetters with ID elsewhere, need to target the communicative function of this behaviour, along with offenders’ lack of insight and initial reluctance to accept responsibility for their behaviour and associated risks. Adjunctive treatment is required to address the psychiatric comorbidity experienced by many of these offenders, along with the alcohol use/misuse that is associated with many of these offences.

Originality/value

This is the first study concerning nature and needs of firesetters with ID in Denmark.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 February 2017

Phyllis Annesley, Leonie Davison, Chris Colley, Liz Gilley and Louise Thomson

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implementation and evaluation of interventions for women firesetters in high secure mental healthcare at the UK’s National…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implementation and evaluation of interventions for women firesetters in high secure mental healthcare at the UK’s National Women’s Service.

Design/methodology/approach

Two types of Arson treatment programmes for women, one delivered to individuals, the other within a group context, were developed, delivered and evaluated. The evaluation incorporated qualitative and quantitative data, including psychometric measures. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

The evaluation evidenced very high engagement with and attendance at treatment programmes, and several post-treatment gains. Participants’ ratings of programmes and qualitative feedback were similarly very positive. The study demonstrated that engaging women firesetters in their treatment is paramount and can be facilitated by consistent boundaries around therapy provision balanced with sensitivity, empathy and flexibility; providing interactive and varied teaching methods; ongoing service user involvement and recognising participants’ achievements; employing a mixed cognitive analytic therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy therapeutic approach; having input from fire service staff; and maintaining organisational support for firesetting interventions.

Practical implications

In all, 12 key recommendations are made for clinicians considering offering treatment programmes for women firesetters.

Originality/value

Amid few published papers on treating women firesetters this paper guides forensic clinicians in establishing and delivering interventions for women firesetters.

Details

Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 August 2019

Clare Sarah Allely

The purpose of this paper is to identify studies which have investigated arson or firesetting in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify studies which have investigated arson or firesetting in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic PRISMA review was conducted.

Findings

The present review highlighted the relatively little research that has been conducted to date exploring firesetting or arson in individuals with ASD. In sum, 11 papers were identified in the present review study: 6 were case studies and 5 were empirical studies. The case studies identified in the review highlighted some of the ASD symptomology which may contribute to this type of criminal behaviour. Also, the empirical studies indicate that there is a higher prevalence of individuals with ASD who engage in such criminal behaviours.

Research limitations/implications

There is an urgent need for further empirical research in this area and for there to be an increased awareness and understanding of how ASD can contribute to arson and firesetting in both a legal and clinical context.

Originality/value

This is the first review, to the author’s knowledge, to explore the literature on firesetting or arson in individuals with ASD.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 March 2022

Dominic Pearson, Samuel Hayward and Shane Blampied

In intervening to prevent recidivism by adult firesetters, there is a dearth of standardised interventions and relatedly of controlled outcome evaluations. Although…

Abstract

Purpose

In intervening to prevent recidivism by adult firesetters, there is a dearth of standardised interventions and relatedly of controlled outcome evaluations. Although education is a common firesetter intervention, it is unclear if this changes behaviour of adults; a research situation the current study aimed to address.

Design/methodology/approach

The rate of actual fire recidivism of participants of a standardised educational programme was compared using Cooke’s (1989) equation to expected rates based on the firesetting history of 93 referrals.

Findings

Results indicated a significant large effect for the difference between the frequencies of expected and actual firesetting re-offences.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of the one-group pretest–posttest design are discussed with respect to potential confounds.

Practical implications

This paper adds to the literature on adult firesetter interventions and lends support to the use of fire education to prevent fire recidivism. It provides the first empirically validated example of a structured education programme for adult firesetters. Of interest to services piloting new intervention programmes, it reports an operationally efficient methodology for preliminary evaluation.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported outcome study of a fire safety education programme for adults. The methodology adopted represents a means of preliminary evaluation in safety-critical areas where traditional evaluation designs are infeasible.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 December 2019

John L. Taylor and Ian Thorne

People with intellectual disabilities who set fires are a heterogeneous and clinically complex group who present significant challenges to the wider community and to…

Abstract

Purpose

People with intellectual disabilities who set fires are a heterogeneous and clinically complex group who present significant challenges to the wider community and to forensic practitioners working in forensic mental health and correctional settings. There is little available in the literature to support professionals when considering assessment and formulation for clients exhibiting these perturbing behaviours. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper the materials available to assist forensic practitioners in considering assessment and formulation of people with intellectual disabilities who set fires are described and outlined.

Findings

An assessment scheme is proposed for organising information from a variety of sources to assist professionals in understanding the nature of risks and clinical needs of firesetters with intellectual disabilities. A newly revised risk assessment measure designed for this population is provided.

Practical implications

Forensic practitioners are provided with a framework and tools to assist with their assessment and formulation of firesetters with intellectual disabilities.

Originality/value

This is the first time a newly revised risk assessment for firesetting behaviour by people with intellectual disabilities has been presented.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

Keywords

1 – 10 of 45