About CATS















CATS combines Middlesex University expertise from the departments of Psychology (directed Professor Antonia Bifulco) and Criminology and Sociology (directed by Professor Julia Davidson).


CATS Psycho-social Research on victims and offenders

The Psychology component of the CATS centre has existed since 1990 as the Lifespan Research Group. This section is directed by Prof Bifulco, and it has a long history of researching abuse victimisation in the family context and intergenerationally, and its effect on psychological disorder in the immediate and longer term. Research programme funding over 10 years from the Medical Research Council allowed for intensive interview investigation of the causal effects of early life neglect and abuse on later experience and psychological disorder, within an Attachment framework.

Recent and ongoing projects
Prof Bifulco has recently been awarded an ESRC project grant to develop an online interview for life events and difficulties in relation to depression; problem physical health and in student experience (with KCL and Goldsmiths). Ongoing research includes Evaluating a Youth Violence Project at Guy’s St Thomas’ A&E department (Guy’s & St Thomas Trust); Action research on attachment for adolescents in residential care (St Christopher’s Fellowship); Recent projects include being a co-investigator in the Online Grooming Project (EC Safer Internet Programme, with NatCen and Belgian, Norwegian and Italian partners); Scoping parenting programmes in offender populations for the Ministry of Justice (with Policis); Developing a child attachment interview for use in child care services (St Christopher’s Fellowship) and Evaluating the use of the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse assessment in Safeguarding services (RB Kingston Safeguarding Services).

Research collaborations
Research collaborations include validations of the CECA and ASI interviews for research in Germany (University of Heidelberg) and Italy (Universities of Palermo, Rome, Padua & Florence), Sweden (University of Gothenberg), Portugal (University of Minho) as well as Japan (University of Rykeo and Kyushu) and Malayasia (University of Kebangsaan). Collaborative research into young offenders has included assessing early life abuse in juvenile sex offenders (with Prof Pham, Univerity of Mons and the Secure Hospital at Tournai, Belgium), collaborations on abusive experience in profiling serial killers (Prof Caretti, University of Rome) and improving childhood and attachment assessments for violent offenders in high security prisons (with Naomi Murphy, HMP Whitemoor). The team offers training to both researchers and practitioners in interview assessments on a regular basis. A partnership with Child and Family Training has enabled the extension of training to health and social care practitioners nationally (for more information visit our training page).

Phd students
Ongoing and recent PhD research includes investigation of youth at risk in developing trust in the police (De Marco); attachment style and disorder in adolescents (Gabbarelli); Child trafficking identification (Dueker); Post Traumatic Stress and emotional disorder in adolescents across communities in conflict zones in Israel (Lawrence, co-funded by One-to-one Israel); the study of partner, and support relationships, attachment and depression in Taiwanese women (Chang), the study of life events, support and attachment style in Malaysian Moslem married and divorced mothers (Abdul Kadir).

For further information on Psycho-social Research at CATS please contact Professor Antonia Bifulco a.bifulco@mdx.ac.uk.

Antonia Bifulco's full biography.


CATS Criminal justice and online abuse research & Legal issues

The criminal justice component of the CATS centre is directed by criminologist Julia Davidson. It seeks to research and disseminate knowledge on both offenders and victims relevant to criminal justice services and early prevention work. A particular focus is on abuse perpetrated online through social media, including online grooming for sexual abuse, cyberbullying andcyber stalking. Another focus is working with the police and CJS to improve practice and influence policy. Ongoing projects include the Qatar grant for cyberbulling with Kingston University and Goldsmiths, with recent projects including Ministry of Justice project scoping out parenting programmes for offenders, the EU online groomers project and a Metropolitan Police funded project for invesgating victims experiences of the CJS.

The unique interdisciplinary nature of the Centre allows legal research to be undertaken in a vibrant academic environment which aims to explore the interaction between law, legal processes, legal institutions and the social sciences. This research aims to compliment and support the core subject areas of the Centre - Abuse, Trauma and Risk - by considering the effect, impact, and consequences of legitimacy, legislation and legal intervention (social policy) on society. 

Legal Research at CATS aims to examine Abuse, Trauma and Risk via reference to a number of emerging and established Socio-Legal themes and contexts, including: Age, Criminal Justice, Child Law, Cybercrime, Disability, Family Law, Hate Crime, Mental Health, Human Rights, Organisational Deviance, Penology, Racism, Sex Crime, Victimology and Vulnerability. 

Prospective students and research partners are able to draw on Director, Researcher, and Advisory Group Network expertise in fields as diverse as Criminal Justice, Criminology, Information Technology, Legal Practice, Psychiatry, Psychology, Medicine, Policing, and the Voluntary / Charity sector. This diversity provides the opportunity for Socio-Legal research in its truest sense within an inquisitive, collaborative culture. 

For further information on Legal Research at CATS please contact Christopher Hamerton, Director of CATS Legal Studies at: c.hamerton@kingston.ac.uk.

Julia Davidson full biography.


For a full list of CATS research projects please visit our Projects page.



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