Centre for Forensic
Behavioural Science

Psychology and law postgraduate projects

Our postgraduate students are undertaking research projects that aim to understand and improve police procedures, laws and legal system.

Fiona Addicott

Delineating the threshold between challenging behaviour and criminal offending of people with an intellectual disability

The study aims to:

  1. capture the extent to which people with an intellectual disability engage in potentially offending behaviour in residential services and the characteristics of these behavioural incidents
  2. explore the experiences of support workers and the factors influencing their views in relation to challenging and offending behaviour.

Mickael Bojczenko

The role of procedural justice reasoning in the reintegration of sexual offenders into the community

This project investigates how utilitarian and retributive principles drive justice reasoning and decision-making regarding the detention and supervision for serious sex offenders.

The secondary aim of the project is to test the ways in which justice reasoning and decision-making are moderated by several contextual variables. These variables are associated with the perceiver (attitudes toward sex offenders, political orientation, preference for intuitive versus deliberative reasoning and focus on legislation) and the offender (responsibility for offending and remorse). 

Innes Seric

Law enforcement decision-making in stressful, ambiguous and potentially violent situations

This project sets out to learn:

  1. How does the decision-making process unfold amidst dynamic and fast-paced circumstances?                
  2. What information or strategies do police officers use to arrive at a decision outcome?   
  3. Can naturalistic decision-making principles be applied to law enforcement?

Alena Skalon

Observers’ evaluations of eyewitness testimony

Identifications made by eyewitnesses are one of the most important piece of evidence in a trial  although  studies  show  that  they  frequently  result  in wrongful  convictions. One of the reasons behind this is that juries cannot discriminate between accurate and inaccurate eyewitnesses. This project aims to improve evaluators’ ability to assess eyewitness testimony.

Benjamin Spivak

Asking the right questions: Examining the utility of fact based directions using a simulated trial paradigm

This project examines the ability of jurors to decide the issues in a case in light of relevant substantive, procedural and evidentiary law.

Mingwai Tam

Pre-sentence reports and sentencing outcomes: How do judges use the reports?

This study focuses on judges’ uses of written psychological or psychiatric report on offenders’ mental health in sentencing decisions. The findings will provide some guidance to psychologists and psychiatrists on the aspects of psychological and psychiatric reports that judges find valuable.

Justin Trounson

Enhancing resilience and wellbeing in prisons: ARC Linkage Project (LP140100397)

This research project aims to identify the mental health needs of prisoners and prison officers within the Port Phillip maximum security prison. It will provide new insight into the factors that can lead to psychological distress for both groups and will develop and trial a set of brief intervention programs designed to address the needs of the missing middle in both prisoner and officer populations. The project will run in conjunction with Port Phillip Prison and will involve the conduct of a number of studies over the three-year project lifespan.