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Portrait of Dr Helen Gavin Dr Helen Gavin | 01484 472789


I have been head of Psychology in two institutions, with the responsibility for the divisional resource management and line management of teams of academic and practitioner staff in psychology and allied disciplines. An environment in which research and research-led teaching has always been of paramount importance to me, and I moved from a management position into a more research focused role when the University’s priorities moved to research in the last few years. I am currently a research leader with special responsibility for the academic leadership of early career researchers across a wide range of disciplines. This entails the guidance, mentoring and direction of colleagues who are embarking on the post-doctoral or post-professional qualification stages of a research career. The role also involves the development, implementation and monitoring of policies to facilitate the attainment of the University’s strategic aims for its research profile. I am also course leader for the MSc in Psychology.

Outside of academia, I have experience of working in the secure communications field, actively involved in the integrity of information in networks. In addition, I have worked on projects examining practice in police and government services.

Research & Scholarship

University research group memberships

I am currently a member of the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences and the Centre for Applied Psychological Research.

Research interests

My research interests lie in two areas. My main research profile is in criminal psychology, particularly centred on the study of deviant sexual practices and the expression of aggression. I head up a research interest group in Sex, Violence, and Aggression, under the umbrella of Psychological Research, but with members across the university and associate members world-wide. Complementary to this research stream, I am interested in the psychology of culture, including music and folk tales. These two topics come together in a variety of unexpected ways, and providing a breadth of research opportunities and contacts, and inform teaching and research supervision.

In addition, I provide consultancy at all levels of the design and analysis of studies for private companies, the Home Office and NHS R&D units.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Gavin, H. and Porter, T. (2014) Female Aggression . London: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-470-97548-0

Naz, S. and Gavin, H. (2014) ‘Cross Cultural Variations in Attitude towards use of Psychological Support Among Police Officers Pakistan Journal of Criminology , 5 (2), pp. 31-46. ISSN 2074-2738

Gavin, H (2014) ‘Evil or Insane? The Female Serial Killer and Her Doubly Deviant Femininity’. In: Transgressive Womanhood. Oxford: Inter-disciplinary press. pp. 49-60. ISBN 978-1-84888-283-6


Gavin, H (2013) Criminological and Forensic Psychology . London: SAGE. ISBN 9781848607019

Togobo, M., Gavin, H., Rogawski, K. and DeBono, M. (2013) ‘A study to determine the fertility rates of men with congenital and acquired vasal obstruction following the use of three sperm retrieval techniques’. In: 33rd Congress of the Societe Internationale D'Urologie, 8-13 September 2013, Vancouver, Canada , pp. 1-1

Gavin, H (2013) ‘Evil or insane? The female serial killer and her doubly deviant femininity’. In: Fifth Global Conference on Evil, Women and the Feminine, 18th - 20th May 2013, Prague, Czech Republic

Hinchcliffe, V. and Gavin, H. (2013) ‘Utilising New Media Technology: Web-Based Diaries for Data Collection with Adult Participants with Autistic Spectrum Disorder ’. In: Advancing Research Methods with New Technologies. Hershey PA, USA: IGI Global. pp. 285-302. ISBN 9781466639188

Gavin, H (2013) ‘Guess who's coming to dinner? Inside the mind of the cannibal serial killer’. In: Cannibals: cannibalism consumption and culture, 25-26 April, 2013, University of Manchester

Yeadon-Lee, T. and Gavin, H. (2013) ‘Is Nonce the New Queer?’. In: Queer Sexualities. : Inter-Disciplinary Press . . ISBN 9781848881556

Bent, J., Gavin, H. and Porter, T. (2013) ‘Sugar and Spice, But Not Very Nice: Representations of Evil Little “Girls” in Cartoons and Comic Books/Strips’. In: The female of the species: cultural constructions of Evil, Women and the feminine.. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press. pp. 107-120. ISBN 978-1-84888-131-0


Rainford, A. and Gavin, H. (2012) ‘Impressions of evil: the public and professional view of a female murderer.’. In: 4th Global Conference on Evil, Women and the Feminine, 6-8 May 2012, Prague, Czech Republic

Gavin, H (2012) ‘The damsel in distress: not as sweet as she is painted?’. In: 4th Global Conference on Evil, Women and the Feminine, 6-8 May 2012, Prague, Czech Republic

Bent, J. and Gavin, H. (2012) ‘The Maids, Mother and 'The Other One' of the Discworld ’. In: Magic and the Supernatural. Oxford: Interdisciplinary Press. . ISBN 978-1-84888-095-5


Gavin, H (2011) ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones: An examination of the effects of emotional abuseJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma , 20 (5), pp. 503-529. ISSN 1092-6771

Bent, J., Porter, T. and Gavin, H. (2011) ‘Sugar and Spice, But Not Very Nice: Representations of Evil Little “Girls” in Cartoons and Comic Books/Strips ’. In: 3rd Global Conference: Evil, Women and the Feminine, 13-16 May 2011, Warsaw, Poland

Gavin, H (2011) ‘Deadlier than the male? An examination of representations of female aggression as evil’. In: 3rd Global Conference: Evil, Women and the Feminine, 13-16 May 2011, Warsaw, Poland

Walker, J. and Gavin, H. (2011) ‘Interpretations of domestic violence: defining intimate partner abuse’. In: The 12th Conference of the International Academy of Investigative Psychology. Crime, Criminalistics & Criminal Psychology: New Directions in Investigative Behavioural Science, 31st March-2nd April 2011, Amsterdam

Bent, J., Porter, T. and Gavin, H. (2011) ‘Sugar and Spice, but Not Very Nice: Depictions of Evil Little Girls in Cartoons and Comics’. In: The Evil Body. Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press. pp. 152-160. ISBN 978-1-84888-074-0

Gavin, H (2011) ‘Deadlier Than the Male? An Examination of Female Aggression as Evil’. In: The Evil Body. Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplnary Press. pp. 261-270. ISBN 978-1-84888-074-0


Gavin, H (2010) ‘ “Mummy wouldn’t do that” The Perception and Construction of the Female Child Sex Abuser ’. In: Grotesque Femininities: Evil, Women & the Feminine. Oxford: Inter-Disciplnary Press Ltd.. pp. 61-78. ISBN 9781848880382

Gavin, H (2010) ‘Sex, food and the pursuit of happiness (with apologies to John Locke)’. In: British Psychological Society North East of Britain Branch Third Annual Conference, 22nd October 2010, Durham, UK

Gavin, H (2010) ‘Mummy Wouldn’t do That: The Perception and Construction of the Female Child Sex Abuser’. In: Grotesque Feminities: Evil, Women and the Feminine. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary.Net . . ISBN 978-1-84888-038-2

Gavin, H. and Bent, J. (2010) ‘Sexual Deviancy and the Sex Police: An Examination of the Religious, Cultural and Psycho-Legal Antecedents of Perceived Perversion’. In: Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll:Psychological, Legal and Cultural examinations of sex and sexuality. Oxford, Uk: Inter-Disciplinary Press. pp. 3-11. ISBN 978-1-84888-031-3

Palit, V. and Gavin, H. (2010) ‘Prognostic indicators & overall survival in men presenting with PSA levels greater than 1000ng/ml.’. In: British Association of Urological Surgeons Annual Meeting, 21-24 June 2010, Manchester Central

Porter, T. and Gavin, H. (2010) ‘Infanticide and Neonaticide: A Review of 40 Years of Research Literature on Incidence and CausesTrauma, Violence and Abuse , 11 (3), pp. 99-112. ISSN 1524-8380

Gavin, H. and Bent, J. (2010) ‘Sexual deviancy and the sex police. An examination of the religious, cultural and psycholegal antecedents of perceived perversion.’. In: Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Psychological, Legal and Cultural Examinations of Sex and Sexuality. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press. pp. 3-12. ISBN 978-1-84888-031-3

Appleby, V., Gavin, H., Kon , M., Georgiades, I. and Moreea, S. (2010) ‘The adequacy of liver biopsies can be predicted from the length of fresh tissue obtained at the time of biopsy – review of ’. In: European Association for the study of liver diseases , April 14-18, 2010, Vienna, Austria

Bent, J. and Gavin, H. (2010) ‘The Maids, Mother and “The Other One” of the Discworld: Exploring the magical aspect of Terry Pratchett's Witches. ’. In: 1st Global Conference: Magic and the Supernatural, 15 - 17 March 2010, Salzburg, Austria

Gavin, H. and Hockey, D. (2010) ‘Criminal Careers and Cognitive Scripts: An Investigation into Criminal Versatility The Qualitative Report , 15 (2), pp. 389-410. ISSN 1052-0147


Gavin, H (2009) ‘The Psychology of Sexual Deviance’. In: The [British Psychological Society] North East of England Branch 2nd Annual Conference, 26-27 June 2009, Sheffield Park Hotel

Hinchcliffe, V. and Gavin, H. (2009) ‘Social and Virtual Networks: Evaluating Synchronous Online Interviewing Using Instant MessengerThe Qualitative Report , 14 (2), pp. 318-340. ISSN 1052-0147

Gavin, H (2009) ‘“Mummy wouldn’t do that” the perception and construction of the female child sex abuser’. In: Evil, Women and the Feminine, 1-3 May 2009, Budapest, Hungary

Pressler, S., Hilton, N. and Gavin, H. (2009) ‘'I can't wear my cosy pink hoodie to keep warm when I go to the shop for my mum': a phenomenological exploration of being a young person in the UK in 2008’. In: University of Huddersfield Research Festival 2009, 23 March - 2 April 2009, University of Huddersfield, UK.


Hinchcliffe, V. and Gavin, H. (2008) ‘Internet mediated research: a critical reflection upon the practice of using instant messenger for higher educational research interviewingPsychology and Society , 1 (1), pp. 91-104.

Gavin, H (2008) Understanding research methods & statistics in psychology . London: Sage. ISBN 978-1412934411


Gavin, H (2007) ‘Criminal mind set and internalised justification’. In: 3rd International Congress of Psychology and Law, Adelaide Australia, 3rd-8th July 2007, Adelaide, Australia

Gavin, H (2007) The psychology of pants, or how to interpret personality from his underwear drawer . Manchester: Brazen PR .


Gavin, H (2006) ‘Intrusive music: The perception of everyday music explored by diariesThe Qualitative Report , 11 (3), pp. 550-565. ISSN 1052-0147


Gavin, H (2005) ‘The Social Construction of the Child Sex Offender Explored by NarrativeThe Qualitative Report , 10 (3), pp. 395-413. ISSN 1052-0147

Gavin, H (2005) Police recruitment in the 21st century, fair and transparent practice Central Police Training and Development Authority (Unpublished)


Gavin, H (2001) ‘Reconstructed Memories and Adult Musical ExpertiseMusic Education Research , 3 (1), pp. 51-61. ISSN 1461-3808

Gavin, H (2001) The Third Person Effect and Perceptual Elements of Television London: Hallmark Channel (Unpublished)


  • In addition to my own research and the support of a range of other researchers at several levels of need, I review submissions for several international journals, and grant applications for a research council.
  • I am on the editorial board of the Journal of Criminal Psychology
  • I have given several invited presentations as keynote speaker at local and international conferences and lecture series, and am regularly asked to comment on events such as murders by local, national and international media.
  • I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Chartered Psychologist and a Chartered Scientist.

Research Degree Supervision

Several previously supervised students have successfully submitted doctoral theses in areas such as Mental models, Psychological function under fire and Clinical psychology. I am currently supervising doctoral students researching areas such as Sexual deviancy and non-offending psychopathy, Mental disorder in sex offender prisons, Police officers and traumatic events and Intimate partner violence.

I have examined several PhD candidates presenting topics such as Homicide and Intelligence networks. I will consider supervision or examination of research students in most areas of criminal psychology, personality disorders or music psychology.

Administrative Responsibilities

Course Leader Msc in Psychology (subject to validation)

Teaching and Professional Activities

I teach areas such as personality disorders associated with criminality, violent offending, sexual offending/deviant sexual practice, serial offending, offender profiling and investigation of unnatural death.

On the undergraduate psychology programmes I am module leader for HHB1005 Forensic Psychology. On the MSc Investigative psychology I contribute to HMB1031 Investigative psychology theories and models for violent, acquisitive and sexual crime, HMB1035 Clinical forensic psychology and HMB1036 Methodologies for investigative psychology: tactics and strategies for studying criminal action. On the Msc in Psychology, I teach modules concerning research proposals and research projects, together with optional module of Forensic Psychology.

In addition to substantive areas of psychology outlined above, I teach social science research methodology, including complex experimental and correlational methods and analysis, hierarchical thematic analysis, factor analysis, survival analysis and statistical modelling. This supports not only my own research and consultancy, but also my ability to mentor other staff, supervise a wide variety of research students, provide academic and course leadership and teach psychology and research methods on a range of taught programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level. My research students are specifically sought as teachers across the university, as the team has a reputation for providing a thorough grounding in all aspects of research methods.

Last updated Thursday 6 March 2014
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