During the first two years of C-LINK, our core activity was centred around two collaborative, international research projects. All network members were involved in the research, each with a responsibility for different aspects of the work. Unique to C-LINK was the manner in which practitioners and academics were able to collaborate on the research projects. In this way, the research produced could address issues of ecological validity in previous research.
Using offender crime scene behaviour to link sexual assaults: A comparison of three statistical approaches
The first study was focused on testing the underlying assumptions of crime linkage (i.e., behavioural consistency and behavioural distinctiveness) with the most ecologically-valid dataset available at that time, amassed through the collaborative efforts of the group.
The findings were broadly supportive of these principles, supporting crime linkage as a valid method of behavioural analysis.
The research paper written about this study can be found here
Linking serial sexual offences: Moving towards an ecologically valid test of the principles of crime linkage
The second study involved comparing the relative performance of statistical methods for linking sexual offences that could form the basis of future decision-support tools.
Using the same dataset as for Project 1, each network member applied the statistical technique(s) for which they have particular expertise and their relative performance was assessed.
The research paper describing what we found can be accessed here
Bridging Academia and Practice
The research projects were complemented with a series of three workshops (2013-2015) across the project. These allowed for discussion and collaboration between academics and practitioners in this field and identified areas of pressing research need. They also gave practitioners the opportunity to share good practice from their respective countries.