Serial rape: An investigative approach

Terry Goldsworthy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter examines the characteristics of the rape offense, and defines serial rape and how it differs from the normal rape offense. Motivational typologies of rapists are briefly examined to assist in developing an understanding of why offenders commit rape, followed by an analysis of various studies on serial rapists and their characteristics. The serial rapist differs from the offender who may commit a single offense as a result of impulsivity. The serial rapist knows how to position himself for rape activity, engage in rape activity, and continue to rape successfully, without any concern that law enforcement will understand, identify, and apprehend him. When investigating serial rapes, the investigator must rely on a number of investigative techniques and aids, some of which are well established, such as fingerprints, whereas others are relatively new, such as criminal profiling and DNA identification. It is suggested that the important issues of offense linkage and signature behaviors should also be kept in mind and will require the investigator to approach the investigation with an open mind.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSerial Crime: Theoretical and Practical Issues in Behavioral Profiling
EditorsWayne Petherick
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9780123749987
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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