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The Strategies of Kidnappers: Understanding violence during kidnapping for ransom negotiations

Publication date: Feb 11, 2013 1:52:12 PM

Start: Apr 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM


Dr. Everard Phillips

Research suggests that kidnappers who ransom their hostages use violence towards their hostage in calculated or sometimes ritualistic manner in order to coerce the target of the ransom. Yet, little is empirical analysis
of these methods and how these actions constitute a crime commission process. This seminar briefly introduced two studies that examine how hostages are coerced in captivity or prepared for the eventual ‘proof of
life’ process. In addition too, examining how this behaviour reflects the types of tactics that kidnappers use to negotiate a ransom demand. In particular, how kidnappers use violence towards their hostage during the
hostage negotiation, as well as the strategic implication of these actions. These factors will relate to understanding whether the hostage will be killed by their captors.


Dr Everard Phillips has been researching the strategic behaviour of kidnappers who ransom for over 10 years. A Criminal Psychologist Everard specialises in profiling factors that lead to post-settlement hostage
homicide, hostage victimisation, and the tactical negotiation behaviour of kidnappers who ransom. Although his focus covers contemporary kidnapping for ransom activity as seen in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, his
primary focus is behaviours of the differing organised criminal groups that operate in Latin America, South East Asia and Africa. Everard has spoken extensively on the subject to a broad spectrum of audiences that have
included diplomatic, military, various international risk and security organisations.