Crimes involving gratuitous, completely un-provoked, or non-retaliatory, violence unleashed on victims ranging from children in home environments to ordinary, inoffensive folk in the streets; the elderly -and notably, young people, both generally and in entertainment precincts and venues.

On the rise ?  Certainly – Government denials and ‘spin’ to the contrary. (Statistics, and empirical evidence; both give them the lie).

Increasing Police numbers; pressure on Department of Human Services Officers; pressure on Public Transport Security Staff

pressure on Government to improve delivery of public safety generally, are each obvious measures in attempting to counter it.

There is, however, in my opinion -born of recent and ongoing personal experience- a notable deficiency in these efforts.

Alcohol consumption is currently being highlighted – with justification; but there is another factor – lack of attention to which may be

exacerbated by a strident over-emphasis on civil liberties-  which isn’t even mentioned in the vast amounts of

media attention being paid, currently, to the issue.

There exists, in Legislation; in the training given to Police and other protective services operatives;  an almost

complete lack of reference to Psychopathy. Note, I am not referring to Antisocial Personality Disorder – frequently referred

to as equivalent. That denotes a pattern of antisocial behaviour which in any given individual exhibiting it, may or may not be

underlain by actual psychopathy.

A society, in which the kind of violence you’ve seen increasing in recent times is more tolerantly treated than

formerly, can be said to be one in which latent psychopathic tendencies would, with relative  impunity, readily find

opportunities for greater expression.

As a factor in the present efflorescence of street and domestic violence, the small proportion of people in the population who are,

in significant degree psychopathic  -even if most are below clinical diagnosis thresholds: or that of persistent criminality- will be

found to be contributing to it in a degree completely out of proportion to their actual numbers.

This condition ought not to be still escaping attention. Individuals who are repeat violent offenders especially, should be regarded

as candidates for at least a rudimentary assessment for the presence of it’s ‘markers’ in their personalities.

It is a widely accepted view among clinicians that few high-functioning psychopaths ever commit a criminal offense. It is also

acknowleged however, that  once an at-risk  individual has progressed to the point of clinical/criminal manifestation of psychopathy,

chances of their remediation are exceedingly slim. Even if behavioural modification is achieved, it is almost never stable.

The underlying condition  -now increasingly linked to a set of specific neurophysiological differences in brain-structure, readily

detectable upon  f-MRI, DT-MRI, and PET scanning-  is permanent.

It would be advisable to bear in mind the dynamic seen in incarcerated populations where researchers quantify the proportional

distribution of psychopathy-to-risk factors as something like :

Psychopaths as a proportion of the non-incarcerated population= 1 ~ 1.5%…. As a proportion of the Jail Population=20~25%….

These 20~25% of prisoners are : Responsible for c/a  80% of all further criminal offending, and for upwards of 50% of all violent

crimes, including sexual offenses.

On follow-up after release, they are as much as 9 times as likely to recidivate as non-psychopaths.

I have a family member victimised by a psychopathic partner – a long-term  situation in which I am struggling to assist.

All of the inquiries I’ve made, reveal that there is currently no form of legal recourse available to proactively protect against

the malignant narcissism of individuals who operate without conscience, while concealing the harm they do -usually by maintaining an

outward charm, with glib, prolific, lying:  -supplemented behind the scenes by threats and intimidation, violence, sexual humiliation

– whatever -or whichever combination-  serves  to obtain what they want; regardless of damage to others, while masking their


Robert D. Hare, PhD “Without Conscience” (ISBN-10: 1572304510; ISBN-13: 978-1572304512)

Paul Babiak & Robert D .Hare “Snakes in Suits” (ISBN: 9780061147890 ISBN 978-0-06-083772-3 )

“…Psychopaths have three motivations: thrill-seeking, the pathological desire to win, and the

inclination to hurt people. …They’ll jump on any opportunity that allows them to do those things,”

Even if someone were, here, currently, somehow clinically assessed as psychopathic – it would, in a Legal, or Law-Enforcement

sense, be of no significance whatever until he (I use “he” advisedly, as the proportion of male psychopaths to

female in most populations studied, is around 6 or 7 to 1) has acted-out his obsessive fixations – or exploded in insane

violence-  at which point he may come to the attention of authority.

At present, this is deemed  adequate. For those  (predictably) victimised, on the other hand, it is always far too late.

Our  community needs to militate for -at a minimum- compulsory assessment for Psychopathy  -say upon admission to the Prison-

System as a starting-point- and the imposition of Legislated safeguards, with surveillance, and reporting requirements for

offenders  assessed as psychopathic .

Additional training for Police, Prison-Officers, Child-Protection and Domestic Violence workers , aimed at imparting an informed

awareness of the additional risks posed to the community by psychopathic individuals,  would certainly be helpful in beginning to

limit the completely  disproportionate disruption and destruction they are capable of generating.

Have any of our Parliamentarians, I wonder, given attention to these factors and the statistics referred-to in relation to

Psychopathy ?

It does appear that they may never have.

In the light of all the  research undertaken  over the last 50 years by people like Robert D. Hare (Emeritus Professor of Psychology

at the University of British Columbia) -author of the most widely-validated Assessment Instruments for Psychopathy – and others;

identification of the condition now confirmed by the neurological “mapping” undertaken within the last 15 or so years -(after

acquisition in the 1980’s and ‘90’s of investigative and diagnostic imaging tools we’d never previously possessed)- perhaps it’s time for

Legislators and Jurists to pay attention; and begin to hammer-out some rudimentary proactive and preventive Legal protections.


One thought on “Psychopathy & Criminal Behaviour

  1. Val

    Thank you. I was the victim of a psychopathic husband for over twenty years. I was a serving member of Vic Pol & he was a serving member over the twenty years he committed the sustained abuse. My (our) children are damaged. It is tremendously difficult to recover from

    He moved onto somesome else after he unsuccessfully tried to kill me & was finally arrested for child sex abuse. Went to prison & now lives on Police Pension whilst we struggle day to day to survive because he also used that Family Court as an extension of the abuse.

    Further, I am not considered a “Victim of Crime” because of legistative timing. Now I have the priviledge of him living next door to me for part of the year (secretly harboured by people he has groomed.)

    Until I can get a photograph of him on my property I am informed by Police there is nothing I can do. He’ll be here again, soon as we are coming to the Festive Season. He has already stolen everything but he will be looking for more.

    Have tried contacting CC of P but just get fobbed of from his office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

clear formSubmit