• Forensic Psychology Research Group

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The Forensic Research Group (FRG) focuses on producing high impact research based on good quality outputs. There are five streams of primary research; Interpersonal violence; Sexual abuse and exploitation; Treatment evaluation and development; Applications to criminal and community justice systems; and Forensic mental health and disorder.

Expertise and Subject Areas

A core focus of the FRG is the application of research and advancement of understanding that can enhance practice, capturing the following core areas:

Interpersonal violence including victimisation, intimate partner violence, honour based violence, intra-group bullying, risk assessment, sleep and aggression, and critical incidents/hostage taking.

Sexual abuse and exploitation including working with victims and offenders, human trafficking, online exploitation.

Treatment evaluation and development including offender behaviour interventions and victim interventions.

Applications to criminal and community justice systems including delinquency, cybercrime, organised crime, terrorism and sentencing.

Forensic mental health and disorder including trauma, personality disorder, psychopathy,

self-injurious behaviour, gambling and severe mental illness.


We produce research that has clear impact on the development of forensic practice, the reduction of offending and the protection that can be afforded to victims. Examples of impact that FRG has been directly involved in, includes:

  • The development and implementation of offending behaviour programmes that are applied across a range of specialist services;
  • Training in crisis negotiation, including the development of specialist packages used by forensic services in secure and community settings;
  • Developing methods of measuring and diagnosing clinical psychopathy.
  • Developing national and international policy on aggression management in secure services.
  • Developing trauma-informed packages and intervention designed to support victims.
  • Advising on national policy associated with exploitation and cybercrime.

Examples of good quality outputs since 2015 include:

Archer, J., Carré, J. M. (2017). ‘Testosterone and aggression’. In B. Bushman (ed.), The Social Psychology of Aggression and Violence  (pp. 90-104). Frontiers of Social Psychology series. New York: Psychology Press (Routledge).

Carré, J. M., Archer, J. (2018). Testosterone and human behavior: The role of individual and contextual variables. Current Opinion in Psychology, 19, 149-153.

Ireland, C.A., Alderson, K., Ireland, J. L. (2015) Sexual exploitation in children: Nature, prevalence and distinguishing characteristics reported in young adulthood. Journal of Aggression Maltreatment and Trauma, 24, pp. 603-622.

Ireland, J. L., Adams, C. (2015) Implicit cognitive aggression among young male prisoners: Association with dispositional and current aggression. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 41. pp. 89-94.

Ireland, J. L., Ireland, C.A, Lewis, M., Jones, C., Keeley, S.M. (2016) Initial development of an implicit and explicit approach to assess psychopathy. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 46, pp. 117-128

Ireland, J. L., Priday, L., Ireland, C.A., Chu, Simon et al (2016) Predicting hospital aggression in secure psychiatric care. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2 (1). pp. 96-100.

Khan, R. (2017). Sibling violence: Validating a two-factor model of severity in non-offender populations. Psychology of Violence, 7, 498-507.

Khan, R., Kim, S., Brewer, G., Centifanti, L. C. (2017). Students, sex, and psychopathy: Borderline and psychopathy personality traits are differently related to women and men's use of sexual coercion, partner poaching, and promiscuity. Personality and Individual Differences, 107, 72-77.

Khan, R., Rogers, P.  (2015) The normalization of sibling violence: Does gender and personal experience of violence influence perceptions of physical assault against siblings? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30, pp. 437-458

Lewis, M, Ireland, J. L. Abbott, J., Ireland, C. A. (2017) Initial development of the Psychopathic Processing and Personality Assessment (PAPA) across populations. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 54, pp. 118-132.

Sheridan, L., Scott, A., Archer, J., Roberts, K. (2017). Female undergraduates’ perceptions of intrusive behaviour in 12 countries. Aggressive Behavior, 43, 531-543.

Thornton, A, Graham-Kevan, N., Archer, J. (2015) Intimate partner violence: Are the risk factors similar for men and women, and similar to other types of offending? Aggressive behaviour, 42, pp. 404 – 412.

Recent international handbooks led by the FRG include:

Ireland, J. L., Ireland, C. A., Birch, P (Eds.) (forthcoming). Assessment, Treatment and Management of Violent and Sexual Offenders, 2nd Edition, Routledge: New York, US.

Ireland, J. L., Birch, P., Ireland. C. A. (Eds.) (2018), Routledge International Handbook on Aggression, Routledge: New York, US.

Ireland, J. L., Ireland, C. A., Fisher., M., Gredecki., N (Eds.) (2017) Routledge International Handbook of Forensic Psychology in Secure Settings. Routledge: New York, US

Courses and Postgraduate Study

Year 1

  • Crime and Psychology

Year 2

  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology

Year 3

  • The Psychology of Violent Behaviour
  • Victimology
  • Profiling Offenders
  • Forensic Psychology in Secure Settings
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Drugs and Behaviour

Year 4 MSc Forensic Psychology

  • Psychology and the Legal System
  • Personal Attributes of Offenders and Victims
  • Forensic Risk Assessment
  • Professional Practice: Forensic Consultancy and Supervision
  • Psychology, Investigation and the Courtroom
  • Violent and Sexual Offenders: Intervention
  • Forensic Mental Health


Dr Philip Birch, Honorary Research Fellow, Charles Sturt University, Australia.

Dr Jo Bryce, Senior Lecturer (Cybercrime).

Dr Robert Cramer, Honorary Research Fellow, Old Dominion University, US.

Professor Charlie Frowd, Professor of Forensic Psychology.

Professor Jane L. Ireland, Chartered Psychologist, Forensic Psychologist, Ashworth Research Centre Lead and Consultant Forensic Psychologist, CCATS.

Dr Carol A. Ireland, Chartered Psychologist, Forensic Psychologist, Clinical research lead, Ashworth Research Centre and Consultant Forensic Psychologist, CCATS.

Dr Roxanne Khan, Senior Lecturer (Forensic), Director of HARM (Honour Abuse Research Matrix).

Dr Michael Lewis, Chartered Psychologist, Lecturer (Forensic) and in-training Forensic Psychologist.

Dr Abigail Thornton, Senior Lecturer (Forensic).

Dr V J Willan, Senior Lecturer (Forensic)


Further information

The FRG is connected to five international journals, via Editor-In-Chief positions.

  • Aggressive Behavior (former Editor in Chief, Professor John Archer)
  • Journal of Forensic Practice (Editor in Chief, Dr Carol Ireland).
  • Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research (JACPR) (Editors in Chief, Professor Jane L. Ireland and Dr Robert Cramer).
  • Journal of Criminological Research Policy and Practice (JCRPP) (Editors in Chief, Dr Michael Lewis and Professor Jane L. Ireland.
  • SALUS Journal (Editor in Chief Dr Philip Birch)

In addition, Professor Jane L. Ireland is Consulting Editor on Aggressive Behavior and the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology.


Ashworth Research Centre, Mersey Care NHS Trust: a forensic-clinical research unit based in a high secure unit and managed by Professor Jane L Ireland, with senior research support from Dr Simon Chu, Dr Carol A Ireland and Dr Michael Lewis.

CCATS (Coastal Child and Adult Therapy Services), Poulton le Flyde. Lead clinician and research lead, Dr Carol A Ireland.

British Transport Police: core research collaborator, Dr Michael Lewis.

Maastricht University, Forensic Psychology Masters and Postgraduate Intern Scheme.

Forced Marriage, Honour Based Abuse & FGM steering group: Lancashire Partnership  against Domestic Abuse. Academic partner: Dr Roxanne Khan.

Related Projects

The following represent recently completed and/or current PhD programmes of research supervised by the FRG:

  • Developing a new model of understanding self-injury in secure settings: the role of risk, protective and attitude factors
  • Sleep and association with aggression
  • Aggression motivation
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Developing measures of psychopathy
  • Understanding risk and protective factors for violence and self-harm in a forensic psychiatric sample
  • Radicalisation
  • Understanding aggression cognition and physiological responding
  • Pathways towards and away from problematic gambling
  • Factors promoting negative symptoms and strength factors following institutional/ in care abuse
  • Victim safety strategies in abusive intimate partner relationships: Working towards a victim-informed harm reduction model
  • Crisis intervention: Understanding motivations
  • Trauma in the police
  • Trauma in staff based in secure services
  • Self-administered procedures for constructing identifiable facial composites
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of facial-composite images using detailed recall of the environmental context (crime scene)