Portrait of Dr Helen Gavin Dr Helen Gavin

View research degree topics that Dr Helen Gavin might supervise

h.gavin@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472789


I joined the University of Huddersfield as Divisional Head of Psychology and Counselling in 2005, having previously been Head of the School of Psychology at the University of the West of England, and senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Teesside. An environment in which research and research-led teaching has always been of paramount importance to me, and I moved from a line management position into a more research focused role when the University’s priorities moved to research in the last few years. Between 2013-2017 I was Director of Graduate Education for the School of Human and Health Sciences, with responsibility for the management of all processes concerning the wellbeing and educational experience of postgraduate researchers in a wide range of disciplines and implementing strategic policies to facilitate the attainment of the University’s strategic aims for its research profile, and acting as the Dean’s representative on matters regarding research degree candidates.

I am currently Principal lecturer in forensic psychology, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in this area, and carrying out research that focuses on deviant and homicidal sexual expression.

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 and 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 and Health 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., Ward, S. and Hanson, S. (2017) Celebrating the work of PGRs in Human and Health Sciences . : University of Huddersfield Press. ISBN 978-1-86218-146-5


Bi-Mohammed, Z., King, N. and Gavin, H. (2016) ‘Prescription Opioid Abuse in Prison Settings: A Systematic Review of Prevalence, Practice and Treatment ResponsesDrug and Alcohol Dependence . ISSN 0376-8716

Newton, C. and Gavin, H. (2016) ‘Studying The Long-term Psychological Effects of Emotional Abuse Experienced in Childhood.’. In: IACSS 2016 International Academic Conference on Social Sciences. : The International Institute for Academic Development. pp. 41-49. ISBN 9789941090646

Naz, S. and Gavin, H. (2016) ‘A Cross National Study Using Anecdotal Accounts of Trauma Reaction in Police OfficersPakistan Journal of Criminology , 8 (2), pp. 43-55. ISSN 2074-2738

Bent, J. and Gavin, H. (2016) ‘Enduring belief in demonic possession: A biopsychosocial perspective’. In: The Supernatural in Theory and Practice, 11-13 March 016, Budapest

Gavin, H. and Porter, T. (2016) ‘Infanticide and neonaticide’. In: Current Perspectives in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Behavior. Thousand Oaks California USA: Sage. pp. 159-170. ISBN 9781483376219


Gavin, H (2015) ‘Jealous Men but Evil Women: The Double Standard in Cases of Domestic Homicide’. In: Perceiving Evil: Evil, Women and the Feminine. : Inter-Disciplinary Press. . ISBN 978-1-84888-005-4

Agazue, C. and Gavin, H. (2015) ‘Evil and Superstition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Religious Infanticide and Filicide’. In: Perceiving Evil: Evil, Women and the Feminine. : Inter-Disciplinary Press. . ISBN 978-1-84888-005-4

Gavin, H (2015) ‘Violent crime as old as the Bible: Boko Haram uses rape as a weapon of warThe Conversation . ISSN 2044-5032

Porter, T. and Gavin, H. (2015) ‘Perceptions of Evil from Abu Ghraib: Female Prison Guards and Sexual Violence’. In: Evil, Women and the Feminine, 7th Global Meeting, 6-8 May, 2015, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Gavin, H (2015) ‘Farewell Terry Pratchett: a psychological analysis of DiscworldThe Conversation . ISSN 2044-5032

Gavin, H. and Porter, T. (2015) Female Aggression . London: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-470-97548-0


Gavin, H (2014) ‘Reasons for female neonaticide in IndiaPaediatrics and International Child Health , 34 (3), pp. 153-153. ISSN 2046-9047

Naz, S. and Gavin, H. (2014) ‘Cross Cultural Variations in Attitude towards use of Psychological Support Among Police OfficersPakistan Journal of Criminology , 6 (1), 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 (2014) ‘Jealous Men but Evil Women: The Double Standard in Cases of Domestic Homicide’. In: 6th Global Conference – Evil, Woman and the Feminine, 2nd-4th May 2014, Lisobon, Portugal

Gavin, H (2014) 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

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

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

Bent, J., Gavin, H. and Porter, T. (2013) ‘Sugar and Spice but not very nice.’. In: The female of the Species: Cultural Conceptions of Evil, Women and teh feminine. Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplianry Net. pp. 107-120. ISBN 9781848881310

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

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

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

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 VersatilityThe 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)


  • Editorial board member
    • Journal of Criminal Psychology
    • Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
  • Reviewer for submissions for several international journals (Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Homicide Studies, International paediatric health), and grant applications for a research council
  • Horizon 2020 expert review panel member
  • Several invited presentations as keynote speaker at local and international conferences and lecture series, including British Psychological Society, and the UK defence lab symposium.  
  • Regularly asked to comment on events such as murders and female aggression by local, national, and international media
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society
  • Chartered Psychologist
  • Chartered Scientist

Research Degree Supervision

Several previously supervised students have successfully submitted doctoral theses in the following areas:

  • Mental models in software design
  • Psychological function under fire
  • Evaluation of clinical psychology practice
  • Sexual deviancy and non-offending psychopathy
  • Police officers and traumatic events
  • Social communication difficulty and technological aids
  • Mental disorder in sex offenders
  • Criminal patterns of repetition
  • Learning disabilities and sexual offending

Currently supervising PhD candidates researching in:

  • Psychopathy and emotional abuse
  • Superstition and ritualised child abuse and murder
  • Gaming behaviour and criminal tendencies
  • Anticipating shifts in criminal MO
  • Male victims of rape and sexual assault
  • Rape myths
  • Emotional abuse in childhood and adult coping strategies
  • Female aggressive responses
  • Developmental pathways to violence ideation

I have examined several PhD candidates presenting topics such as Homicide, Sexual Offending, Clinical Practice, Female Offending, Intelligence networks, and Music psychology. I will consider supervision or examination of research students in most areas of criminal psychology, personality disorders, representation of violence in folk tales, or music psychology, or projects using innovative research methods.

Postgraduate research opportunities with Dr Helen Gavin


MSc by Research


MSc by Research

Administrative Responsibilities

Currently on a partial research sabbatical, therefore not undertaking administrative roles

Teaching and Professional Activities

I lead modules in Forensic/Criminal Psychology at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I also lead postgraduate research methods modules, and am developing programmes in advanced psychological research methods. I contribute to postgraduate modules in Clinical Forensic Psychology and Research Methods in Investigative Psychology.