Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Publication Date



The examination of offenses rather than offenders in past research often overlooked the importance of offender characteristics and background. Indeed, a growing body of research suggests that the biological or psychological characteristics of offenders may strongly influence the outcome of particular encounters or future offense behavior. For instance, offenders with poor verbal ability or low school achievement scores may be more prone to repeat confrontational violence, irrespective of the characteristics of the victim or the situation of the offense. Thus, it is important to distinguish between those offenders with short or repeat offense histories, and those offenses which do or do not involve personal confrontation with a victim. This paper focuses on violent or serious victim-offender confrontations. It is expected that repeat offenders will have relatively more disadvantaged personal and background characteristics than first-time offenders, and that in comparison these characteristics will be stronger predictors of their offense behavior than victim and situational influences.