A study of stranger rapists from the English high security hospitals


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Heterogeneity hinders our understanding of sexual violence; but does this problem extend to stranger rape and, if so, would the construction of homogeneous subtypes advance our understanding of this crime and aid criminal investigations and clinical practice? To answer these questions, 41 stranger rapists from the English high security hospitals were examined using version 3 of the Massachusetts Treatment Centre rapist typology (MTC:R3) and multidimensional scaling (MDS). The MTC:R3 suggested that sexual desire and opportunism were the primary motivations for these men, but that proportionately more psychopaths were violent and sadistic. In accordance with previous research, the men experienced problematic childhoods and displayed high rates of criminality and psychiatric morbidity in adulthood. However, MDS found that rapist histories and offence behaviours generally divide into sexual and violent themes. These results have important implications for theory, criminal investigations and clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-167
JournalJournal of Sexual Aggression
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2007


  • Stranger rape
  • sexual offending
  • psychopathy
  • mental illness
  • high security hospitals


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