Chapter

Arson (fire-raising)

Herschel Prins

in New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199696758
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743221 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0262
Arson (fire-raising)

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Not only is arson (fire-raising) a very worrying offence for the reasons given, but it has shown an increase in recent years. Moreover, the ‘profile’ of those convicted of arson has shifted over the years with an increased proportion of female offenders. And, in a very important recent study, Soothill et al. showed at 20 year follow-up that the proportion of those reconvicted for arson had more than doubled. The authors conclude with the sobering observation that ‘the situation in relation to arson has deteriorated significantly over the past 40 years’. The causes of fire-raising are complex and attempts at classification have not been entirely successful. Viewing fire-raising as a ‘symptom’ appears to offer the best hope for more successful diagnosis and management. The brief survey in this chapter has merely touched upon the topic. The suggestions for further reading and the references should assist those who wish to pursue the topic in further depth.

Chapter.  3954 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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