Principle Investigator: Dr Louise Dixon


Louise is a Reader in Forensic Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington where she is the Director of the Forensic Programme. She is a Registered Forensic Psychologist with the UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and holds Chartered Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society (BPS), and is a registered New Zealand Psychologist. She enjoys an active international research profile that broadly contributes to the prevention of interpersonal aggression and violence. Primarily, her research has centred on the study of intimate partner violence and abuse and aims to understand how and why people are aggressive in intimate relationships with a view to developing effective assessment and intervention programmes and policy. Louise’s research has influenced practice and policy in correctional settings, policing, psychological, health, offender management and political areas. She is currently leading and co-leading a number of funded research projects in this area. She is a Fellow of the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) and sits on the editorial board of international journals Aggressive Behaviour, Child Maltreatment, Partner Abuse, Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research and Journal of Forensic Practice.

You can view Louise’s staff profile on the Victoria University of Wellington website.

VUW post graduate students: 

IMG_3610Fiona Dempsey recently completed her MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2017 entitled ‘Developing a psychologically informed typology of partner violent women’.


Saara Cavanagh is completing an MSc in Psychology. She is exploring third party tolerance of gendered violence in heterosexual intimate partner relationships and the extent to which tolerance levels differ between aggressive and non-aggressive individuals. Saara is using an online survey with student samples to investigate her research questions.


Shameela Allen is completing an MSc in Forensic Psychology. She is exploring the short term effects of media messages on people’s understanding of, and tolerance for, intimate partner violence. Shameela is using online experimental methodology with student samples.


Ryan Jones is completing an MSc in Forensic psychology. He is exploring the relationship between tolerance of gendered violence and control motivated intimate partner aggression. Ryan is using an online survey methodology with student samples.

Ara A’Court is completing an honours dissertation that is exploring the relationship between sexism and tolerance of gendered intimate partner aggression. Ara is using online survey methodology to explore her research questions.

Doctoral students external to VUW:
SineadSinead Bloomfield
 is in the final stages of her PhD at The University of Birmingham, UK under the supervision of Dr Louise Dixon. Sinead currently works as a Research Psychologist at the National Offender Management Service (UK) and is completing her PhD part time. Her thesis aims to examine the aetiology and treatment of intimate partner violence offenders in England and Wales.

BeverlyBeverly Powis is completing a PhD at the University of Birmingham, UK, with Louise Dixon as a named supervisor on her committee. Beverly works as a Chartered Psychologist at the National Offender management Service (UK) and is completing her PhD part time. Beverly aims to provide an examination of the characteristics, risk, needs and behaviour of extremist offenders in the English and Welsh Prison Service.

AdamAdam Mahoney is currently completing his PhD at Edinburgh Napier University, UK, under the supervision of Thanos Karatzias, Paul Hutton and Louise Dixon. Adam works for the Scottish Prison Service where he is a psychology manager at HMP Cornton Vale, Scotland’s only female prison and is completing his PhD part time. His thesis aims to explore the effectiveness of psycho-educational interventions as a first phase to helping address and stabilise offenders with histories of interpersonal trauma and associated mental health symptomatology. Adam’s data collection seeks to utilise an RCT framework which can pose its own challenges in a forensic setting and is undertaking a meta-analytic review of the relevant research in this area of treatment.

Recent research collaborators:

Professor John Archer, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Dr Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, Senior Lecturer, Univeristy of Birmingham, UK
Professor Erica Bowen, Coventry Univeristy, UK
Dr Elizabeth Celi, Private Practice, Rome, Italy
Professor (Hon), Leam Craig, Univeristy of Birmingham, UK
Dr Emily Douglas, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston, US
Dr Leigh Harkins, Assistant Professor, Univeristy of Ontario Institute of Technology, CA
Dr Denise Hines, Research Associate Professor, Clark Univeristy, US
Dr Philip Howard, National Offender Management Service, UK
Dr Esteban Esquivel Santovena, Lecturer, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Dr Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, Reader, Univeristy of Bath, UK
Dr Nicola Graham Kevan, Reader, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Dr Michael Larkin, Senior Lecturer, University of Birmigham, UK
Professor Devon Polaschek, Victoria Univeristy of Wellington, NZ
Dr Chrysoula Pornari, Lecturer, Birmingham City University, UK
Professor Tony Ward, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
Professor Steve Wormith, Univeristy of Saskatchewan, CA
Dr Juan Medina-Ariza, Senior lecturer, Univeristy of Manchester, UK
Dr Dominique Moran, Reader, Univeristy of Birmingham, UK
Dr Alexandra Lysova, Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser Univeristy, CA
Professor Daniel Perkins, Penn State Univeristy, US
Dr Jenny Tew, National Offender Management Service, UK
Dr Abigail Thornton, Lecturer, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Dr Gemma Unwin, Research Fellow, University of Birmingham, UK