Psychology in Geographic Profiling of Homicide Body Disposal

  • Spaccavento, B. (Organiser)
  • Phillip Birch (Member)
  • Andrew Ellis (Member)
  • Sharon Klamer (Member)
  • Lewis Bizo (Member)
  • Adam Marsden (Member)

Activity: Engagement case studiesGovernment


An inter-disciplinary collaboration between the Forensic Intelligence Branch of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), CSU School of Psychology, UTS Criminology, and UNSW School of Psychiatry that attempts to enhance homicide investigations and search parameters into concealed body disposals following homicide in Australia. The project employs mixed methods to explore and test the relationships between psychological characteristics of the homicide perpetrator and the spatial, temporal, environmental, and geographical aspects of the homicide situation to better predict perpetrator decision-making about bodies following a homicide event.

Phase 1 of the project scoped the relevant literature and probed existing publicly available data for relationships between constructs of interest in order to inform a codebook to be used with protected AFP data in Phase 2. Phase 3 will involve qualitative analysis of interviews with convicted homicide perpetrators, though HREC approval has not yet been sought for this phase.

Results from all phases will be integrated to develop a set of perpetrator decision-making pathways that could be used in homicide investigations. With enhanced information about perpetrator decision-making, investigators' search parameters can be narrowed and missing persons who are the victim of homicide can be more likely to be found, and found sooner, leading to enhanced justice outcomes and avoidance of additional distress for significant others of the victim.
Work forAustralian Federal Police, Australia
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • homicide
  • body
  • disposal
  • geographic
  • profiling
  • psychology
  • situation
  • decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Law

Sustainable Development Goals

  • SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Countries where activity occurred

  • Australia