Incel: how an online subculture has led to violence against women

Dr. Peter  Collins1

1Criminal Behaviour Analysis Section, Ontario Provincial Police, Orillia, Canada


A number of violent incidents, in North America, has been perpetrated by individuals who identify with the misogynistic and male supremacy ideology perpetrated by “involuntary celibates” (incel). The rise of the incel community is another example of online extremism and there are known links to white supremacy groups, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and men’s rights activism.  They share a sense of entitlement reflecting a belief they are owed jobs, racial/socioeconomic status and/or sex, because they are superior to women.

The purpose of the presentation will be to discuss the incel extremist belief system, its relationship with autism spectrum disorder, and the endorsement and encouragement that members consider suicide or homicide-suicide.

Case examples will be presented and discussed.


Peter Collins has been the forensic psychiatrist with the Ontario Provincial Police, since 1995. From 1990 to 1995 he was a member of the first profiling unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Violent Crime Analysis Section) and was involved in the development of the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS). Since 1992 he has been a member of the crisis/hostage negotiation team of the Toronto Police Service Emergency Task Force.

Peter obtained his Masters in Applied Criminology from the University of Ottawa, his Medical Degree from McMaster University and completed his postgraduate medical training in psychiatry and forensic psychiatry at the University of Toronto. His clinical appointment is with the Complex Illness and Recovery Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and he is an Associate Professor, in the Division of Forensic Psychiatry, at the University of Toronto.

In 1997 Peter was elected a member of the International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship. In 2017 he received a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Critical Incident Association. Peter is an authority on violent crime and has worked with, and instructed, numerous criminal justice agencies in North America, and internationally.