Research and analysis

Study of fantasy disclosure by sexual homicide perpetrators

A study aimed at identifying factors that are indicative of fantasy disclosure by sexual homicide perpetrators.



Sexual fantasy has been identified as an important characteristic in theories of sexual homicide, while forensic practitioners may seek to determine whether sexual fantasy played a role in a sexual killing. Thus, fantasy can be integral to case formulation and identifying treatment targets as part of rehabilitative efforts to reduce the risk of recidivism.

However, perpetrators of sexual homicides can be reluctant to talk about their fantasies due to concerns that this will raise their level of risk and prevent progression. The current research reports on two studies using the same sample. The aim of the first study was to consider the presence or absence of characteristics of perpetrators of non-serial sexual killing and whether or not there was evidence that the perpetrator had disclosed deviant fantasy. The second study aimed to determine whether or not the disclosure of fantasy could be predicted using factors identified in the first study.

A sample of 100 life sentenced men convicted of homicide who had committed a non-serial sexual killing (those offenders who had killed one or two people) was used to facilitate knowledge of the factors that could indicate whether sexual fantasy needs to be considered to understand a sexual homicide.