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Violence and Aggression Group

The Violence and Aggression Group of the Criminal Justice Partnership are a multi-disciplinary team with current and evolving strengths to fit with the regional, national and international agendas around the management and reduction of violence and aggression, and the impact it has on individuals, communities and organisations.



At a time of efficacy and cost-effectiveness, it is important to have evidence-based research on what works. The Group has cross-disciplinary expertise to provide that evidence base by using academic literature and statistical expertise to guide prospective initiatives and evaluate existing ones.

The Violence and Aggression Group provides access to a real-world understanding of the issues surrounding violence and aggression in society, with many of the group members being active practitioners. This understanding is structured around a social-ecological model encompassing the macrosystem (e.g., societal values and beliefs), exosystem (e.g., industry and social services), microsystem (e.g., family and peers), and the individual (e.g., age and mental health).

Using expertise within the University of Central Lancashire, the evidence base for current initiatives can be explored, both in terms of efficacy (through rigorous evaluation) and in terms of the underpinning theory to more fully understand the mechanisms by which change occurs or is inhibited (through primary research funded by grant capture).

Our Violence and Aggression lead is Dr Nicola Graham-Kevan who is a Reader in the Psychology of Aggression and a visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology at Mittuniversitetet. Dr. Graham-Kevan researches offending and its treatment as well as victim vulnerability. She was lead author for the British Psychological Society’s response to government consultations on reducing reoffending and domestic violence. She has published research victims and perpetrators of violent crime, as well as evaluations of offender programmes. Dr. Graham-Kevan is co-author of the Inner Strength domestic violence treatment programme which runs within HMP, community and children’s homes.

She is also co-author of Positive Futures Structured Supervision Programme for the Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Centres, Calderstones NHS and Oldham County Council. She is an author on the Life Minus Violence Enhanced Programme (for non-domestic violence) and Thinking Minds (for enhancing problem-solving).

She has delivered individual and group-based interventions with men and women in community, prison and secure hospital settings and is trained in risk assessment and crisis negotiation.

The HARM: Honour Abuse Research Matrix, established by Dr. Roxanne Khan at the School of Psychology, is also coordinated by the Violence and Aggression Research Group

There are four other research groups under the Criminal Justice Partnership theme.

Find out more below.

  1. Prisons
  2. Youth and Justice
  3. Policing
  4. Mental Health and Criminal Justice

We have expertise and research interests in the following areas:

  • Aggression
  • Family Violence
  • Interpersonal Violence
  • Offending Behaviour
  • Posttraumatic Growth
  • Repeat Victimisation
  • Resilience
  • Risk Assessment
  • Service Evaluation
  • Sexual Violence
  • Trauma
  • Victim Vulnerability

The Violence and Aggression strand of the Criminal Justice Partnership aims to:

  • Create an active and thriving research environment, working alongside regional, national and international organisations to deliver real world impact;
  • Encourage interdisciplinary perspectives to deliver innovative solutions for those facing challenges in the area of violence and aggression;
  • Establish a reputation as a centre of collaboration and innovation with high quality research outcomes;
  • Increase awareness of opportunities and expertise in the strand through engagement with internal and external partners.

As the Violence and Aggression theme is focused on working with partners directly facing the challenge of responding to real world problems, real world impact is inherent in the work we do.

We regularly host conferences and workshops exploring topics of relevance to many outside organisations, including the police, probation, voluntary sector, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and many other organisations.

The interdisciplinary approach within the University of Central Lancashire stimulates innovative approaches to addressing violence and aggression and enables staff to develop their research expertise and responsivity to emerging themes and societal need.

We publish high quality research in peer-reviewed international academic journals. Our publications range from professional commentaries and opinion pieces, to reports for industry and government bodies, to full academic research papers. We also regularly hold conferences and workshops for academics and practitioners in the field.

  • Criminal justice organisations to work with UCLan to address challenges facing sector
  • In March 2017 we were pleased to host a series of three events as part of UCLan’s Distinguished Visitors Programme. As part of this programme we were visited by Professor Christopher Eckhardt from Purdue University, USA.

    13 March 2017 Military veterans in transition: Challenges and interventions

    The purpose of this event was to explore a number of physical and psychological health challenges faced by returning servicemen and women when they return to civilian life. Speakers at this event were Dr. Celia Hynes (College of Military Veterans and Emergency Services), Professor Christopher Eckhardt (Purdue University, USA), and Dr. Nicola Graham-Kevan (UCLan). The talks covered the influence of early adversity, PTSD and other health concerns on outcomes former service personnel, and interventions to support veterans in reaching their educational, occupational and personal aspirations. The event was attended by academics, ex-service personnel, practitioners, charities and students.

    14 March 2017 Rethinking domestic violence

    This conference sought to challenge traditional conceptualisations of domestic violence that generally recognises male perpetrators and female victims. Presentations were delivered by Professor Christopher Eckhardt (Purdue University, USA), Dr. Nicola Graham-Kevan (UCLan), Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Clarke (Lancashire Constabulary), Dr. Abigail Thornton (UCLan), Ian McNicholl (Ambassador for Mankind Initiative). Speakers covered some of the emerging research on complexities of domestic violence, including the role of alcohol, female perpetrators, male victims, bidirectional violence, in addition to the Lancashire police experiences of domestic incidents. The event was attended by academics, practitioners and students in the field of domestic violence.

    15 March 2017 Understanding the Psychology of Aggression

    This event took place at HMP Kirkham prison and was attended by over 50 academics, prison staff, UCLan students and HMP Kirkham men. It covered the motivations for aggressive behaviour. Presentations were delivered by Professor Christopher Eckhardt (Purdue University, USA) and Dr. Nicola Graham-Kevan (UCLan). The talks covered learning history, environmental and psychological factors that can facilitate or maintain this type of behaviour, and were delivered to practitioners, prisoners and students.

  • External launch event (December 2016)
  • Internal launch event (October 2016)
  • Visit of Professor Brad Bushman (June 2016)
  • Visit of Professor Richard Felson (May 2016)
  • (Lead) Nicola Graham-Kevan
  • Kelly Bracewell
  • Jo Bryce
  • Amy Elliott
  • Roxanne Khan
  • Natasha Mokhtar
  • Ruth Parkes
  • Abigail Thornton
  • Megan Todd
  • Tiffany Sinclair
  • Victoria Willan
  • Gemma Wibberley

For further information, contact