citationsProfessor Louise Dixon, Acting Dean of Science, Victoria University of Wellington. 

Louise is a Registered Forensic Psychologist with the UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and holds Chartered Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society (BPS), and is a registered New Zealand Psychologist. Louise enjoys an active international research profile that broadly contributes to the prevention of crime and interpersonal aggression and violence. Primarily, her research has centred on the study of intimate partner violence and abuse and aims to understand how and why people are aggressive in intimate relationships with a view to developing effective assessment and intervention programmes and policy.

Louise’s research has influenced practice and policy in correctional settings, policing, psychological, health, offender management and political areas. She is currently leading and co-leading funded research projects in this area. Louise sits on the Board of Trustees for Male Survivors Aotearoa. She is a Fellow of the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA), a member of the New Zealand Psychological Society, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and British Psychological Society. She sits on the editorial board of international journals: Aggressive Behaviour, Child Maltreatment, Partner Abuse, Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research and Journal of Forensic Practice.

You can view Louise’s staff profile on the Victoria University of Wellington website and find her on Google Scholar.

Research Fellow

34850_GCK3492Michaela Pettie BA (Psychology & Linguistics), BSc (Hons), PhD Behavioural Psychology

Michaela (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Maru) has recently completed her PhD in Behavioural Psychology. She is an advocate for those that are disproportionately affected by trauma, this includes male survivors of sexual abuse. During her PhD, she served on the Board of Trustees of MOSAIC – an organisation that supports the needs of men and members of the Rainbow community.

Michaela is working on a Ministry of Social Development funded project, which is investigating the barriers and facilitators for men reporting and accessing specialist support services for sexual violence and abuse. This is an 8-month project (Aug ’20 to Apr ’21) that will include interviews with a diverse range of male survivors. The focus is on understanding the survivors’ journeys and what helped or hindered them when reporting sexual violence and abuse, as well as seeking support from services. The project will also include the perspectives of the service providers on what helps or hinders male survivors reporting and accessing support services.

VUW post graduate students

IMG_3610Fiona Dempsey  BA (Psychology & Criminology), BSc (Hons), MSc FPSY, PhD FPSY Candidate.

Fiona completed her MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2017 entitled ‘Developing a psychologically informed typology of partner violent women’. The aim of Fiona’s PhD thesis to is to move toward a gender inclusive conceptualisation and measurement of control in the study of intimate partner aggression using quantitative methods. This involves the development of a scale that will reliably measure aggressive and controlling behaviours used in intimate relationships using large online surveys with community and student samples. Fiona is supervised by Associate Professor Louise Dixon and Dr Matt Hammond.

Daniel Profile (headshot)Daniel Wegerhoff  BSc (Hons) Psyc, PhD FPSY Candidate, and Clinical Psychology Candidate.

Despite the prevalence and longevity of gang research, the gang field has been impacted by several theoretical roadblocks which have limited the achievement of key research objectives, such as the development of accurate gang conceptualisations and theories/explanations. The aim of Daniel’s doctoral dissertation is  twofold: (1) to develop a conceptualisation of gangs that overcomes these issues; and (2) to develop a systematic approach to constructing theories for gang related occurrences. His thesis will review the problems affecting gang conceptualisation and explanation/theory generation and will draw upon insights from the philosophy of science and scientific method to provide specific solutions to the identified problems. Daniel is also in the clinical psychology programme and is scheduled to resume clinical training in 2021. Daniel is supervised by Associate Professor Louise Dixon and Professor Tony Ward.

Abelle pic for websiteAnnabelle Wride, BSc Psyc, MSc FPSY, PhD FPSY and Clinical Psychology Candidate.

Annabelle graduated with the MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2020 and has gone onto study for a PhD in FPSY under the supervision of Associate Professor Louise Dixon and Professor Tony Ward. She is also enrolled in the Clinical Psychology programme at Victoria. Annabelle thesis will investigate the aetiology of intimate partner abuse.

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Anjela Frost  MSc FPSY Candidate.

Angela completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Criminology at Victoria University, before beginning the MSc of Forensic Psychology programme in 2018. For her Masters thesis, Anjela is looking into attrition from community family violence prevention programmes. Specifically she is attempting to identify factors that may influence whether an individual will complete a community based family violence prevention programme. This research could assist in the development and funding of programmes of this nature in order to decrease participant drop out rates.


Manuri Ranasinghe MSc FPSY and Clinical Psychology Candidate.

Manuri is completing the MSc FPSY alongside the Clinical Psychology Programme. Manuri is using quantitative methodology to explore the relationship between sexism, approval of aggression, and  experiences of dating violence in a sample of female students from New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Charlotte Jensen SquareCharlotte Jensen MSc FPSY Candidate
Charlotte is completing the MSc FPSY.  She is using qualitative methodology to explore how men who live with their children and female partner experience reciprocal aggression and help-seeking in their intimate relationship.

Jacinta Rogers SquareJacinta Rogers MSc FPSY Candidate

Jacinta is completing the MSc FPSY.  She is using qualitative methodology to explore how men with children experience the process of uni-directional abuse from female intimate partners.

VUW logoAnnette Levine MSc FPSY and Clinical Psychology Candidate

Annette is completing the MSc FPSY alongside the Clinical Psychology Programme. Annette is using qualitative methodology to explore how women experience the process of intimate partner abuse in relationships characterised by reciprocal aggression.

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Jonothan Langton-Burnell MSc FPSY and Clinical Psychology Candidate.

Jonothan is completing the MSc FPSY alongside the Clinical Psychology Programme. Jonothan is using qualitative methodology to explore how men who are victimised by female partners experience disclosure and helpseeking from services in New Zealand. 

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Annalise Wynn MSc FPSY Candidate.

Annalise is completing the MSc FPSY.  She is using qualitative methodology to explore the experiences and help seeking behaviours of female university students who have experienced aggression and/or control from an intimate partner.

Doctoral students external to VUW


Beverly Powis  PhD Candidate

Beverly is completing a PhD at the University of Birmingham, UK, with Louise Dixon as a named supervisor on her committee. Beverly works as a Chartered Psychologist at the National Offender management Service (UK) and is completing her PhD part time. Beverly aims to provide an examination of the characteristics, risk, needs and behaviour of extremist offenders in the English and Welsh Prison Service.


Past and present research collaborators

  • Professor John Archer, University of Central Lancashire, UK
  • Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Professor Jessica Woodhams, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Professor Erica Bowen, Coventry University, UK
  • Dr John Hamel LCSW, Research Fellow University of Central Lancashire and private practice California, US
  • Dr Gareth Treharne, Univeristy of Otago, NZ
  • Dr Elizabeth Celi, Private Practice, Australia
  • Professor (Hon), Leam Craig, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Professor Emily Douglas, University of Massachusetts Boston, US
  • Dr Leigh Harkins, University of Ontario Institute of Technology,  CA
  • Dr Denise Hines, George Mason University, US
  • Dr Philip Howard, National Offender Management Service, UK
  • Dr Esteban Esquivel Santovena, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
  • Professor Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, University of Bath, UK
  • Professor Nicola Graham Kevan, University of Central Lancashire, UK
  • Dr Michael Larkin, Aston University, UK
  • Professor Devon Polaschek, Waikato University, NZ
  • Dr Chrysoula Pornari, Birmingham City University, UK
  • Professor Tony Ward, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
  • Professor Steve Wormith, University of Saskatchewan, CA
  • Professor Juan Medina-Ariza, University of Manchester, UK
  • Professor Dominique Moran, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Dr Alexandra Lysova, Simon Fraser University, CA
  • Professor Daniel Perkins, Penn State Univeristy, US
  • Dr Jenny Tew, Her Majesty’s Prison Service, UK
  • Dr Abigail Thornton, University of Central Lancashire, UK
  • Dr Gemma Unwin, Research Fellow, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Dr Steven Gillespie, University of Liverpool, UK
  • Dr Artur Brzozowski, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Dr Elizabeth Bates, University of Cumbria, UK