Principal Investigator

Clare-Ann Clare-Ann Fortune, PhD, PGDipClinPsy I oversee the Youth Forensic Psychology Research Lab. I have previously worked in research roles including with the Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law, University College Dublin, Ireland. I then trained as a clinical psychologist at the University of Auckland while I did my PhD. I have worked clinically in child and adolescent mental health services including for a specialist youth forensic service. As a senior lecturer in Clinical Forensic Psychology I currently teach across the clinical and forensic psychology programmes in the School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington. My key areas of research interest are risk assessment, offender rehabilitation and ethical issues associated with young people’s interactions with the justice system.You can view Clare-Ann’s staff profile on the Victoria University of Wellington website.

Postgraduate Students

Arran Milne MSc(FPsy) – Arran returned to study in 2017 and completed his Graduate Diploma in Science (Psychology) in 2018. In 2019 he began working toward the Master of Science in Forensic Psychology and the Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology. His interests include theories of youth offending as well as mental illness and its relationship to violent offending. Arran began volunteering with the Youth Forensic Psychology Lab in 2018 looking at the errors young people make when recalling and applying their rights. He will begin his thesis in 2019 under the supervision of Dr Clare-Ann Fortune and Dr Deirdre Brown. Arran will examine whether we can improve the advice parents/nominated people give young people when applying their rights.

Elizabeth McLean – PhD candidate.

Jesse Wood MSc(FPsy) – Jesse completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. He is currently undertaking research to identify predictive factors related to absconding risk for youth in Youth Justice Residences. The research is looking at trying to measure, and understand absconding risk for young people who are going on day-release activities, such as court, education based trips, transfers, health and dentist appointments, or any other number of similar activities a young person might undertake.

Linda PhD pic(1)Linda FatialofaPhD candidate. Linda completed both her undergraduate and honours study at Victoria University. In 2018, she decided to continue her studies in the PhD programme and in 2020 she commenced her provisional year in the Clinical Programme. Linda’s research will utilise the voice of young males who offend to better understand the different pathways to offending within the NZ context. More broadly, her research aims to provide a foundation with which to advance current explanations in the youth offending area.

Lydia Talbot MSc(FPsy) – Lydia completed her BSc in Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. In 2018 she began the Master of Science in Forensic psychology. For her thesis in 2019, Lydia is looking at youth’s understanding of their rights when they are questioned by police, and whether it can be improved by revising the wording and structure of the Child/Young Persons Rights Caution.

Julia Ryan MSc(FPsy)

Roísín Whelan – PhD candidate.  Róisín Whelan completed her BSc Hons in Psychology in 2015 at Victoria University and is currently enrolled in the Clinical Psychology Programme at Victoria University. Róisín’s PhD is exploring the life stories/narratives and key autobiographical memories of boys aged 16 and 17 years of age residing in youth justice residences.  The aim of the research is to investigate the relationships between various elements of the young people’s narratives and their wellbeing; for example the way these young people structure their life stories and how they feel about themselves and their futures This research is being co-supervised by Dr. Clare-Ann Fortune, Professor Karen Salmon, Dr Tia Neha and Professor Tony Ward.  In addition, this research is being supported by a Research Whānau of Māori and Pasifika academics and clinicians guiding and governing this work. Róisín’s areas of research interests are complex trauma, hard-to-reach populations, autobiographical memories and wellbeing in adolescents



Molly Weenink, MSc(FPsy) – Evaluation of the self-regulation programme at Korowai Manaaki.

Philippa Dean, MSc(FPsy) – Assessing competency to engage in the youth court amongst a community sample of New Zealand youth.

Sebastian Collin-Smyth, MSc(FPsy) – A framework for young people with neurodisability who offend: Introducing the PAM-NEXT.

Alexander Jones, MSc(FPsy) – Mauri Tu, Mauri Ora: A process evaluation.

Frances (Frankie) Gaston, MSc(FPsy) –  Young people’s comprehension of the Rights Caution in New Zealand. Check out Frankie’s research summary here.

Oliver Kitto, MSc(FPsy) –  Finding meaning in behavioural predictors of child sexual reoffending: The Offence Characteristic Meaning Framework (OCMF).

Jonathan Muirhead, MSc(FPsy) –  Risky Business: Evaluating the Dynamic Risk Assessment for Offender Re-entry for Use with New Zealand Youth.

Anna Ferguson, MSc(FPsy) – Comparing the validity of the DRAOR at predicting risk with youth and adult male offenders on community sentences in New Zealand.

Jessica Scanlan, MSc(FPsy) – Comparing the validity of the DRAOR at predicting risk with adult women and male offenders on community sentences in New Zealand. Co-supervisor.

William Drummond, MSc – Comparing styles of parent-child conversation: The influence on children’s conduct problems and emotion knowledge. Co-supervisor.