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Firesetting and Firesetters in the Netherlands

Individualization, Identification and Treatment

Firesetting and Firesetters in the Netherlands
  • Year of publication 2016
  • 350 pages
Author:Lydia Dalhuisen
Series:Willem Pompe Instituut (volume 83)
Category: Criminology General
Icon_printbook 978‐94‐6236‐709‐8 | paperback | 1st edition | € 66.50 / $ 89.77 / £ 70.49

Firesetting can have devastating effects, including loss of life and serious financial damage. With its potentially severe negative consequences, this type of behaviour has enormous impact on society. Remarkably, however, this phenomenon has received little attention in research, leaving the questions largely unanswered regarding how firesetters can best be individualised, caught by the police and treated in forensic mental health institutions. Based on the first large-scale research project studying firesetters in the Netherlands, this monograph provides answers resulting from analyses at a macro, meso and micro level. These analyses show that firesetters are a heterogeneous group, whose subgroups have their own specific diagnostics and characteristics. These characteristics can guide the police investigation in cases of firesetting. Furthermore, the subgroups found have specific treatment needs, as described in a differentiated treatment model. In order to be effective, treatment should focus on these specific needs. In short, this study contributes to knowledge on the firesetting phenomenon, highlighting the need for differentiation both in individualising and identifying as well as in treating firesetters.

This book is part of the so-called Pompe series, which contains publications by staff members of the Willem Pompe Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology in Utrecht, and by authors closely aligned to the school of thought for which the Institute is known. One of its main characteristics has always been the combination of legal and social-scientific approaches to problems of criminal law. The central theme of the Institute’s research programme is the protection and enforcement of fundamental rights in a changing world. Within that programme, research focuses on the position of vulnerable groups in relation to the state and on the significance of individual human rights in an international context.

Author's information

Lydia Dalhuisen is currently employed at the Willem Pompe Institute where she teaches Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology and continues her research in this field.

Interview Radio 1 with Lydia Dalhuisen on firesetting in the Dutch city Hoogeveen

Click here to listen to the radio fragment Brandstichting Hoogeveen: pyromaan of niet? (language: Dutch).