Friday, October 25, 2013

The Origin of the Multidisciplinary Collaborative on Sexual Crime and Violence

In August of 2010, I began recruiting for the 'Serial Homicide Expertise and Information Sharing Collaborative‏' (SHEISC), an initiative with the expressed goal of creating an online serial homicide database. The collaborative brought together serial homicide researchers from around the world, each contributing their own painstakingly compiled data to one central database. Collaboration such as this had never been conceived up to that point since serial homicide researchers typically worked in silos, sharing information only with their own team. 

In November of 2011, I attended the 'First Annual International Multidisciplinary Collaborative Conference on Violence Research & Evidence-Based Practice: Sexual Homicide' where I met the late Dr. Leonard Morgenbesser, an Adjunct faculty member with SUNY Empire State College. After informing Leonard of my success with the data collaborative, I became known to him as "the database guy". We discussed an idea to continue the efforts of the SHEISC using the conference as a "jumping off point".

On November 17, 2011, we began building the "as yet unnamed" collaborative using the members of the SHEISC‏ and the conference speakers as the foundation. Since some of the conference speakers were already members of the SHEISC, getting things moving was less complicated. Throughout the month of December, I began recruiting additional members to the newly enhanced collaborative. On January 5th, 2012, the collaborative was given the official name of the 'Multidisciplinary Collaborative on Sexual Crime and Violence' (MCSCV). To date, I have recruited close to 90 of the 102 group members.

In early January of 2012, I introduced the idea of communicating over a private and secure LinkedIn group. Dr. Wade Myers astutely pointed out that some members would prefer to utilize email rather than LinkedIn as it would require additional technology that could be perceived to be a barrier to communication. Dr. Chris Kunkle suggested that an email listserv be set up to accommodate our needs. On January 19, 2012, the listserv went live. To date, both mediums are in use.

The group continued to grow over the next few months as we refined the scope of the topics to discuss and the purpose for the group. Currently, members of the collaborative communicate regularly about serial homicide. Several connections have been made outside of the virtual group. In an age of restricted budgets, a virtual collaborative such as this should be considered as a means to maintain contact with fellow colleagues.

UPDATE: In 2015, the MCSCV completed the two year transition to Northeastern University and was renamed the Atypical Homicide Research Group after incorporating the topic of mass homicide