Welcome to

CATS - Academic & Applied Research in the Digital Age

An Introduction to Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies

The Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS), Middlesex University provides research, practice and training in the domains of Lifespan Development, Wellbeing, Crime and Victimisation and Internet Child Abuse. CATS combines expertise from the departments of Psychology and Criminology at Middlesex University. The Centre directors are Professor Antonia Bifulco and Professor Julia Davidson, who have conducted a considerable amount of research, teaching and practitioner training on abuse issues, around offenders, victims, criminal justice and social services practitioners. The expertise of the CATs team includes physical abuse/domestic violence; stress, attachment, psychological abuse and sexual abuse/sexual assaults in children, adolescents and adults.

church farm house middlesex university

The Focus of CATS

The focus of the work undertaken by the CATS team is on both stress experience and resilience, in-person and online. The team uses attachment, stress and lifespan models to focus on health, social care and criminal justice perspectives to inform practice and policy. It combines psychology and criminology with a focus on real life and online experience, and utilises a range of research methods including those online for the digital age. Areas covered by CATs are:

Lifespan Development:
Life Events, child and adult stress and mental health, attachment issues in abuse and trauma; domestic abuse of both children and partners (view projects)

Resilience, support, coping with stress, safety both online and in person (view projects)

Crime & victimisation:
Intra-familial child sexual abuse, young people and trust in the police, child victims in the investigative process, child trafficking, community support for offenders and their families (view projects)

Internet Child Abuse: Cyberbullying, sexting and self taken images, online stalking and internet safety, young people’s use of digital media and online behaviour in the UK and the Middle East (view projects)


Services provided by CATS

The CATs team provide research, both academic and applied, consultancy, practice training, media dissemination, continuing professional development, knowledge exchange and learning in a broad range of abuse and trauma related topics across the lifespan, including with children, adolescents, adults and in older age. In particular CATs provides:-

    Bespoke research projects and consultancy. Scientific research projects in area of stress and health and cyberbullying;

    Service evaluations:
    E.g. in child safeguarding and Looked After services; police practice with vulnerable victims; educational services around abuse prevention; interagency working of professionals; youth services);

    Workshops on abuse/ trauma related topics (child safeguarding; attachment; parenting; internet abuse; interviewing child victims; risk assessment of serious offenders), Short training courses on assessment (e.g. child neglect/abuse; attachment style; parenting; internet offenders and risk) and methods (around assessment, self-evaluation and research tools) and consultancy for researchers and practitioners.

    Working in partnership:
    CATs consolidates expert support from a wide array of partners. Centre partners include voluntary organisations, statutory services and potential funders as well as universities and research centres.




You can now follow
CATS Criminology on Twitter!

You can now follow
CATS Social Research on Twitter!