citationsAssociate Professor Louise Dixon, Director of Forensic Programme (VUW)

Louise 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. Louise 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. Louise 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 and find her on Google Scholar and ResearchGate.

VUW post graduate students

IMG_3610Fiona Dempsey  BA (Psychology & Criminology), BSc (Hons), MSc FPSY, PhD Candidate

Fiona recently completed her MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2017 entitled ‘Developing a psychologically informed typology of partner violent women’. The aim of Fiona’s PhD thesis to is to move toward a gender inclusive conceptualisation and measurement of control in the study of intimate partner aggression. To achieve this goal, Fiona is utilising a mixed methods approach. This involves the development of a scale that will reliably measure aggressive and controlling behaviours used in intimate relationships using large online surveys with community and student samples. She will also conduct a thematic analysis to explore the lived experiences of men and women from clinical samples who experience and/or use control in abusive relationships.

Daniel Profile (headshot)Daniel Wegerhoff  BSc (Hons) Psyc, PhD Candidate

At the beginning of 2018 Daniel completed his Honours thesis looking at reconceptualising the concept of ‘gangs’. This work identified some of the key ethical and theoretical issues facing contemporary gang research and proposed new ways to overcome them. His Doctoral dissertation is focused on building upon this foundation. As such, Daniel’s thesis adopts a conceptual and theoretical approach which is focused on improving contemporary investigations and understandings of the groups that we commonly call gangs. Daniel is also in the clinical psychology programme and is scheduled to resume his clinical training in 2021. Dan is supervised by Associate Professor Louise Dixon and Professor Tony Ward.

Jakob headshotJakob Scotts-Bahle  MSc FPSY Candidate

Jakob is currently completing an MSc FPSY investigating the experiences of men who have experienced intimate partner violence. Jakob is also in his first supervision year as part of the clinical psychology programme at Victoria.



abelle-pic-for-website-e1551402275735.jpgAnnabelle Wride  MSc FPSY Candidate

Annabelle completed her undergraduate studies at Victoria and began the MSc of Forensic Psychology programme in 2018. She has previously done research in the areas of cognitive and applied developmental psychology. Annabelle’s Masters thesis will be supervised by Professor Tony Ward and Associate Professor Louise Dixon, and will explore the ways in which we classify and explain intimate partner violence (IPV). Specifically, she hopes to classify IPV based on the motivations underlying violent behaviours. She is also enrolled in the Clinical Psychology programme at Victoria.

Pic for IFALAnjela Frost  MSc FPSY Candidate

Anjela completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Criminology at Victoria University, before beginning the MSc of Forensic Psychology programme in 2018. For her Masters thesis, Anjela is looking into attrition from community family violence prevention programmes. Specifically she is attempting to identify factors that may influence whether an individual will complete a community based family violence prevention programme. This research could assist in the development and funding of programmes of this nature in order to decrease participant drop out rates.

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Ara A’Court  MSc FPSY Candidate

Ara is completing an MSc FPSY 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.

VUW logoNathan Heine  MSc FPSY Candidate

Nathan began his pursuit of an MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2018 after completing an undergraduate degree in Psychology at Victoria University. Nathan is working on a thesis that will investigate the effects of intimate partner violence media campaigns. Specifically, the effects that are being measured are approval of abuse, intention to intervene and a measure of sexism. This is also looking at targeting bystanders and attempting to increase the likelihood that individuals intervene in situations of intimate partner violence.



Doctoral students external to VUW

SineadSinead Bloomfield  PhD Candidate

Sinead 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  PhD Candidate

Beverly 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.

Adam Mahoney  PhD CandidateAdam

Adam 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.



  • Shameela Allen, MSc FPSY; completed an MSc in Forensic Psychology investigating the short term effects of media messages on people’s understanding of, and tolerance for, intimate partner violence
  • Saara Cavanagh, MSc FPSY; completed an MSc in Psychology 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
  • Ryan Jones, MSc FPSYInvestigating the Relationship between Approval, and Experiences of Physical Violence and Controlling Behaviours in Heterosexual Intimate Relationships (2018)
  • Kelsi Liang, MSc FPSY; Risk profiles of NZ convicted violent offenders with and without a history of partner violence (2016)
  • Rochelle Nafatali, MSc FPSYUnderstanding the relevance of triarchic psychopathy for the reintegration of NZ high risk violent offenders (2017)


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
  • Dr Steven Gillespie, University of Liverpool, UK
  • Dr Artur Brzozowski, University of Birmingham, UK