Victims & Offenders Call for Papers: Special Issue

The Evolving Police Response to Individuals with Behavioral Health Challenges: Victim, Offender, or Both?

Victims & Offenders

Police are responsible for addressing a myriad of community problems, but none may be more challenging than the decisions made by police when  they respond to crime reports and calls for service involving people with behavioral health challenges (e.g. mental illnesses and/or substance abuse disorders). 

The aim of this special issue is to explore the police response to individuals with these behavioral health problems. We are particularly interested in articles that examine the victimization of people with behavioral health challenges, as well as the police response to the victimization of this population.

We also seek articles that explore the nature and extent and of encounters between police and people with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders who may be involved in criminal behavior.

Finally, we are interested in evaluations of policing strategies targeting this population, either in terms of victimization or offending (or both).

For each of these topic areas, international submissions are encouraged.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Specialized police responses to co-morbid populations;
  • The use of discretion in police encounters involving people with behavioral health issues;
  • The victimization of people with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders;
  • Perceptions held by people with behavioral health challenge of their interactions with the police;
  • Secondary trauma experienced by police officers when responding to calls for service involving community members with behavioral health problems;
  • The possible influence of state or federal policies and/or the current political climate on the police response to individuals with behavioral health challenges;
  • Global perspectives on the victimization of individuals with behavioral health challenges, and/or the police response to individuals with behavioral health challenges.

We welcome papers that address one or more of these questions drawing on qualitative or quantitative methods. 

Why you should submit to Victims & Offenders:

Victims & Offenders is an emerging source in the field of criminology and offers authors an opportunity to publish their research within a unique and interdisciplinary forum. Listed in a range of citation and abstraction indices, including EBSCOhost, Scopus, PubMed, the Emerging Sources Citation Index and Web of Science, research published within the journal is made visible and easily discoverable by scholars and criminology practitioners alike.

How to submit

Prior to submitting a paper, please email a 500-word abstract/proposal to Melissa Morabito ( by November 15, 2017. 

If your abstract/proposal is selected, we will invite you to submit a paper to this special issue. Papers should be limited to 30 pages. All submissions will undergo anonymous review.

If you have questions, please contact the Corresponding Guest Editor: Melissa Morabito at Please put “Special Issue” in the subject line. 

Before submitting your full paper, you are advised to read the Instructions for Authors available here.

Editorial information