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Forensic Research Group

The Forensic Research Group (FRG) is a newly developed group that takes a broad approach to Forensic Psychology research.

The aims of the group are to:


(i) Apply psychology to the Criminal Justice System, and in doing so;

(ii) Understand the interaction between the two.


The FRG focuses on a wide range of topic areas. These include (but are not limited to):   

  • Investigative and human rights processes concerning victims, witnesses and suspects of crime and their progression through the justice process (with an emphasis on vulnerability),
  • assessment and treatment of offender groups and their behaviour,
  • violence, incl. sexual violence and gender-based violence,
  • fire-setting,
  • terrorism,
  • cybercrime and hate crime,
  • jury decision-making including cognitive biases, memory and attention, and victimology including rape myths.


Current research being conducted by group members include…

Lauren Arnison: a PhD researcher investigating bias within juror decision making, after the Auld Report 2001 and the integration of police, politicians and judges (amongst other occupations) into jury service.

Laura Farrugia: the concept of vulnerability in the Criminal Justice System, including how it is defined and identified, and how vulnerable individuals navigate the justice system. In addition, how vulnerable individuals, particularly, suspects are interviewed by the police.

Georgia Grady: a PhD researcher investigating the possible racial bias present within juror decision making, considering racially biased pre-trail publicity, age/generational differences and implicit racial bias.  

Faye Horsley: the social construction of fire, the ‘fire narrative’ and fire messaging concerning young people, reasons for fire-setting among young people and the correlates of fire use and fire interest in a UK population.

Connor Leslie: understanding how we detect threatening behaviour from the body language of men.

Amy Newman: investigating the prevalence of harmful sexual behaviours within relationships in LGBTQ+ populations

Gavin Oxburgh: International human rights in relation to interviewing/interrogation methods.

Jenny Paterson: understanding and alleviating the personal and group-based impacts of hate crime.


The FRG is seeking PhD applications. If you are interested in joining as PhD student, please visit the Psychology Postgraduate research page for more information.


Members of the group have received nearly £4.5m in funding to date from various research councils including the UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) Fund, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the British Academy (BA), the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (AFCFT), the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST), the College of Policing (CoP), ROLE (UK), and the N8 Policing Research Partnership.


If you are interested in taking part in any of our research projects, or would like further information, please email:

Staff members

Group lead: Laura Farrugia

Laura Farrugia

Dr Laura Farrugia

Assistant Professor


Staff Placeholder

Dr Faye Horsley

Assistant Professor


Amy Newman

Dr Amy Newman

Assistant Professor


Jenny Paterson

Dr Jenny Paterson

Assistant Professor


Student members

Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

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