Centre for Forensic
Behavioural Science

Complex criminal behaviour postgraduate projects

Our postgraduate students are undertaking research projects into criminal acts driven primarily by psychological and social problems.

Elizabeth Daff

Youth intimate partner violence in an Australian sample

This study aims to better understand what youth partner violence looks like in an Australian sample. It will explore some of the factors involved in this violence, namely emotional regulation and cognitive control.

Svenja Senkans

Dysfunctional relational cognition in intimate partner violence and stalking

The topic of this thesis is relational and offence-supportive cognition in intimate partner violence and ex-intimate stalking.

Marie Henshaw

The socio-demographic, personal history and offending characteristics of online child pornography offenders: A comparison with contact-only and dual sexual offenders

Through collaboration with the Department of Justice, Victoria Police and the Department of Health, this project aims to enhance understandings of those who engage in online child pornography offending. The first phase of the project aims to characterise all individuals sentenced with any child pornography-related offence between 2008 and 2013 based on their demographic, legal and mental health characteristics. The second phase aims to empirically compare the characteristics of those sentenced for:

  1. child pornography offences
  2. contact child sexual assault offences
  3. both child pornography and contact offences, during the same time period.

Vindya Nanayakkara

Applying arson classification to subgroups of firesetters

This research aims to use arson classification theory and practice to better understand the motives and behaviours of certain subgroups of firesetters. These include mentally disordered firesetters, firesetters whose actions result in serious harm and female firesetters. We hope that the findings from this research will assist not only those who investigate fires but also forensic mental health practitioners engaged in the assessment and treatment of firesetting behaviour.

Bea Raymond

Wrinkles in Sexual Behaviour: What is the risk of sexual abuse in an aged population?

This research aims to obtain data about ‘normal’ aged sexual behaviour in order to compare it to that of sex offenders. We hypothesise that current risk assessment tools may need to be modified to account for differences that are experienced as we age. These include reduced sex hormones, frailty, diminishing social contact and change in living arrangements.

Melanie Simmons

Understanding children who abuse: What constitutes child-to-parent violence and why does it occur?

Conflict occurs in most families at some stage and can take many forms. Child-to-parent conflict is one of the least studied forms of family conflict, even though research on this subject was first published over 35 years ago. The lack of consensus on what constitutes child-to-parent conflict likely hinders research on this topic. 

Angela Sorotos

Assessing the treatment efficacy of internet sex offenders in a Victorian population

This study aims to assess the efficacy of treatment in Victorian internet sex offenders by exploring  internet sex offenders' treatment needs, the role of early maladaptive schemas in offending, the nature of treatment progress, the nature of treatment outcomes and the weight of the therapeutic alliance in treatment.