Deliberate firesetting is a growing public health concern, causing significant harm to human health, community infrastructures, wildlife, and ecosystems each year. However, despite the harms caused by this destructive behaviour, there has been a distinct lack of research focus on understanding and responding to firesetting, relative to other types of offending. As a result, practitioners working in clinical, forensic mental health, and criminal justice settings have had to assess and treat firesetting within the context of very little theoretical and empirical guidance. In this talk I will outline the issue posed by deliberate firesetting, the limitations of existing evidence in this area, and the impacts of this on the development and implementation of effective policy and practice. Recent developments in our understanding of the clinical needs of people who set fires and the effectiveness of specialist interventions for this behaviour will be presented. Future directions for research and practice will be discussed.
Nichola Tyler is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Swinburne University of Technology. Nichola completed her PhD at the University of Kent (UK) in 2015 and has held academic positions at universities in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. Nichola’s research primarily focuses on improving understanding, assessment, and prevention of deliberate firesetting and arson, and justice professionals' wellbeing. In addition to her academic role, Nichola has experience of working with men and women who have set fires in UK prisons, and community and inpatient forensic mental health services.