Dian Williams, a professional arson profiler, formalized her business, the Center for Arson Research, in 1985. Since that time, Dr. Williams and other arson evaluators at the Center have conducted over 1000 face-to-face interviews across the United States on known or suspected firesetters and fire bombers of all ages.
The federal government has recognized Dr. Williams as one of six arson research fellows in the country. She appears regularly in the print and visual media in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Williams was featured on the Discovery Channel a number of years ago as an expert in arson profiling and in the late 1980’s, provided expert testimony on juvenile crimes, with a focus on arson and bombing, before a U.S. Senate sub-committee studying youth violence.
Dr. Williams serves as a consultant on arson, fire bombing and domestic terrorism to federal and state criminal justice agencies, insurance companies, fire departments, federal and state courts, mental health organizations, drug and alcohol treatment programs, police departments, schools and adoption agencies. She serves as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases, usually as a fact and opinion witness for the prosecution and as a mitigation witness at sentencing for the defense.
Dr. Williams lectures on the dynamics of firesetting, the motivation of each arson subtype and arson risk assessment by subtype around the country and abroad. She is honored to have been the keynote lecturer at the International Association of Arson Investigators, held in London, July 2008. A partial list of her upcoming conferences are found on the “newsletter” page of this website. She also provides lectures on ethics in the criminal justice and medical fields, the culture of deviance, criminal profiling and investigative interviewing strategies. Arrangements for lectures are made through the Center for Arson Research at 215-843-2115 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center is pleased to offer the second edition of her textbook, “Understanding the Arsonist: From Assessment to Confession”, published by Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company. She is also the author and/or co-author of multiple articles on firesetting behavior in children, adolescents and adults.
The Center for Arson Research evaluators are experienced mental health or criminal justice professionals with many years of experience in their specific disciplines. All evaluators receive training on the questionnaire used exclusively by the Center to determine firesetting subtype and determination of risk. The questionnaire was designed in the mid 1980’s by Dian Williams and has been modified four times since then to study certain variables that are specific to one or more of the subtypes. The evaluators are expert interviewers who adjust their techniques according to the intellectual, emotional and cultural needs of the client.