• Eric Beauregard (SFU)

Eric Beauregard

Member Information

Name: Eric Beauregard

Role: Associate Member

Qualifications: B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D., in Criminology

Affiliation & Position: Associate Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University | Director, Centre for Research on Sexual Violence |

Link: Publications

Link: Dr. Beauregard’s CiR&A posts

Criminal investigation and sex offending

Influenced by the pioneer work of the FBI on criminal profiling in the early 1980’s, I focused part of my research on how criminal behavior – more specifically the modus operandi – could be used in order to apprehend sex offenders. The study of sex offenders’ behavior allows me to apply this knowledge to different aspects of police work. My work on sexual homicide has shown that it was possible to use crime scene indicators in order to predict offender characteristics – what has been termed criminal profiling. Sex offenders’ behavior may also be useful for linking crimes in cases of serial offenders and the prioritization of suspects. Moreover, despite a large body of research on the factors leading to confession during police interrogation, researchers have neglected to look specifically at sex offenders. Yet, obtaining a confession in cases of sexual crime is of the utmost importance as it is sometimes the only proof of guilt. Looking at offender’s behavior during the crime, I have been able to design a few studies to understand better how to identify those sex offenders who are likely to confess during the police interrogation and those who will not.

Criminological theory and sex offending

The second axe of my research program focuses on how criminological theories can contribute to the understanding of sexual offending. Having been very much influenced by the rational choice perspective and the work by Cornish and Clarke, my work has shown consistently that sex offenders are very similar to other offenders in their decision-making. Moreover, they have been shown to exhibit rational decision-making in the use of strategies to avoid detection. I have also made use of two other theories closely related to rational choice – routine activity and crime pattern theories – in order to expand our understanding of sex offenders’ behavior. Similar to what we found in our rational choice studies, sex offenders act according to their non-criminal routine activities and adapt their criminal behavior to their environment. One of the objectives of this axe of my research is to contribute to challenge the notion that sex offenders constitute a different type of criminals and that they should be treated differently in our criminal justice system.

Prevention of sex offending    

The study of sex offenders’ behavior also permits to identify and suggest crime prevention strategies for potential victims. My work focusing on the offender-victim interactions has been instrumental in identifying situational crime prevention strategies for potential victim in order to avoid victimization or to avoid a lethal outcome during a sexual assault. Prevention measures can also be identified at a developmental level. Some of my research has started to consider some developmental factors and how intervening on these factors may alter behavior of sex offenders in adulthood. My research on the effect of pornography as well as on the role of self-image represents good examples of how my work on offenders’ behavior can be used for prevention purposes.