JST496 Fire-Setting Behaviour, Legal Issues and Investigative Practice (8)

Knowledge of fire-setting behaviours is an important tool for fire investigators. This subject will examine the psychological theories and motives of fire-setting behaviour and the evidence derived from them. It will analyse the common sub-groups of fire-setters and the prevention and intervention strategies applying to each of them. Students will also gain an understanding of specific legal issues relating to incendiary fires as well as investigative practices for identifying, analysing and presenting expert evidence in relation to such fires.


Session 1 (30)
Manly Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: JST496. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

Subject Relationships

JST417 Overlapping content.
JST416 Overlapping content.

Incompatible Subjects

JST416, JST417

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be familiar with the psychological theories of fire setting behaviour
  • be able to recognise a range of motives for fire-setting
  • be able to relate fire-setting behaviours and motive to evidence at a fire scene
  • be able to demonstrate a general knowledge of various prevention and intervention strategies for each fire-setting sub-group
  • be able to prepare for and present expert evidence in relation to incendiary fires


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • General introduction to fire-setting
  • Fire-setting typologies and theories
  • Fire-setting motives
  • Linking fire-setting behaviour to offender characteristics
  • Child and adolescent fire-setters
  • Female fire-setters
  • Fire-setters with an intellectual disability
  • Fire-fighter arsonists
  • Wildfire arsonists
  • The investigation of deliberately lit fires
  • Professional conduct for fire investigators
  • Photography and notetaking
  • Ethical issues involved in report writing
  • Optional Reading & Resource: Legal issues for fire investigators

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of JST496 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Assignment 1
Assignment 2

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.