About CATS 2018-05-08T13:13:58+00:00
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About us

CATS centre combines the expertise from the departments of Psychology and Criminology at Middlesex University to provide high quality research, consultancy, practice training, media dissemination, continuing professional development, knowledge exchange and learning in a broad range of abuse and trauma related topics across the lifespan.  We use attachment, stress and lifespan models in the context of health, social care and criminal justice to inform practice and policy. We utilise a range of research methods including those online for the digital age.

Our centre is located in a historic Grade II* listed building, a former home of the Church Farmhouse Museum, and the oldest surviving dwelling in Hendon, North London.

What we do

We undertake both academic and applied research project in areas of stress and health and cyberbullying. We can provide bespoke research projects and consultancy.

Short training courses on assessment (e.g. child neglect/abuse; attachment style; parenting; internet offenders and risk) and methods (around assessment, self-evaluation and research tools) and consultancy for researchers and practitioners. Workshops on abuse and trauma and related topics (child safeguarding; attachment; parenting; internet abuse; interviewing child victims; risk assessment of serious offenders).

We provide service evaluations in a wide range of areas, including: child safeguarding and Looked After services; police practice with vulnerable victims; educational services around abuse prevention; interagency working of professionals; youth services.

Areas of focus

Intra-familial child sexual abuse, young people and trust in the police, child victims in the investigative process, child trafficking, community support for offenders and their families (view projects).

Cyberbullying, sexting and self taken images, online stalking and internet safety, young people’s use of digital media and online behaviour in the UK and the Middle East (view projects.

Life Events, child and adult stress and mental health, attachment issues in abuse and trauma; domestic abuse of both children and partners (view projects).

Our Team

Professor Antonia Bifulco
Professor Antonia BifulcoCo-Director

Prof Antonia Bifulco is a psychologist who has worked in the area of clinical disorder and psycho-social risk across the lifespan since 1980. Her PhD studies at Bedford College, University of London focused on the long term impact of childhood loss of mother on depression. Her career developed in the Social Research Team headed by Prof George Brown and Tirril Harris, investigating life stress, vulnerability and depression in women. In 1990 on Prof Brown’s retirement she took over the team renamed the ‘Lifespan Research Group’ and completed an MRC programme grant. The team continued with a more applied focus after that time, working together with voluntary and statutory health and social care agencies to help improve assessment and practice.

Prof Bifulco’s research has been published widely in international peer reviewed journals. Her book co-authored with CATS member Geraldine Thomas Understanding Adult Attachment in Families (2012, Routledge) summarises 30 years of academic and applied research. In addition, Wednesday’s Child (Bifulco & Moran, 1998, Routledge) is still a primary text for students and researchers in the area of long terms effect of childhood neglect and abuse, recently translated into Italian. The Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA) interview was developed by Toni Bifulco as a standardised interview tool for collecting information on abuse in early life. This is increasingly used by practitioners in forensic, social work and psychological fields. Another publication Entrepreneurship for Everyone (2009, Mellor, Coulton, Chick, Bifulco, Mellor & Fisher, Sage) examines the issue of knowledge exchange and how university research can be used to help develop practice.

Prof Bifulco is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, is an associate fellow of the BPS and is a Chartered Psychologist, and has a visiting Professorship at Palermo University, Italy.


  • Webster, Stephen and Davidson, Julia and Bifulco, Antonia (2014) Online offending behaviour and child victimisation: new findings and policy. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Antonia Bifulco and Geraldine Thomas ( 2012) Understanding Adult Attachment in Family Relationships: Research, Assessment and Intervention. Routledge.

Journal articles:

  • Spence, Ruth and Bunn, Amanda and Nunn, Stephen and Hosang, Georgina and Kagan, Lisa and Fisher, Helen L. and Taylor, Matthew and Bifulco, Antonia (2015) Measuring life events and their association with clinical disorder: a protocol for development of an online approach. JMIR Research Protocols, 4 (3). e83.
  • Schimmenti, Adriano and Bifulco, Antonia (2015) Linking lack of care in childhood to anxiety disorders in emerging adulthood: the role of attachment styles. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 20 (1).
  • Bifulco, Antonia and Schimmenti, Adriano and Jacobs, Catherine and Bunn, Amanda and Rusu, Adina C. (2014) Risk factors and psychological outcomes of bullying victimization: a community-based study. Child Indicators Research.
  • Bifulco, Antonia and Schimmenti, Adriano and Moran, Patricia and Jacobs, Catherine and Bunn, Amanda and Rusu, Adina Carmen (2014) Problem parental care and teenage deliberate self-harm in young community adults. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 78 (2). pp. 95-114.

For full list of research publications visit Prof Bifulco’s university profile page.

Professor Julia Davidson
Professor Julia DavidsonCo-director

Julia Davidson, PhD is Professor of Criminology and Director of Research in Criminology at Middlesex University and a Co-Director of a research centre, the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (with Prof Antonia Bifulco). She is also Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Julia currently chairs the UK Council for Child Internet Safety Evidence Group and provides expert advice to international organisations such as UNICEF, the US Sentencing Commission, the US Department of Justice and the UN ITU and Interpol. She is also a Trustee of ECPAT UK. She has directed a considerable amount of research spanning 25 years in the criminal justice area and is known for her work with serious offenders, young victims of abuse, the police and the judiciary. She has focused on child Internet abuse and online safety since 2004.

Prof Davidson has recently co-directed (with NATCEN) the first European study exploring Internet offenders’ online grooming/luring practices (funded by the European Commission Safer Internet Programme. This study, www.europeanonlinegroomingproject.com, included partners from Italy, Norway and Belgium. Julia is currently co-directing a large study of cyberbullying in the UK and Qatar funded by the Qatar National Research Foundation (with colleagues from KU Criminology and Sociology Dpt and Psychology Dpt and Goldsmiths College) . Professor Davidson has also conducted research on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Authority, Crimestoppers, the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, the Scottish Executive and the National Audit Office to explore online offending and child safety on the internet. She has recently aided the Kingdom of Bahrain to develop a National Child Internet Safety legislative and practice framework.

Professor Davidson has worked extensively with the media and has published widely in the abuse and Internet safety area, she has written 5 books and many academic articles. She has PhD in Criminal Justice Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science and was made Honorary Research Fellow at Royal Holloway University of London in May 2010, she is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. Professor Davidson provides regular expert advice on criminal justice issues to the media and has recently worked on documentaries for the BBC and ITN. She has worked with ITV Evening News, the ITV News Channel, BBC News Channel, BBC Radio Four Woman’s Hour, BBC Five Live Radio, BBC 2, BBC Northern Ireland, C4 and Sky News.


  • Davidson, Julia and Hamerton, Christopher (2016) International perspectives on child victimisation. Routledge. ISBN 9780415579575
    Webster, Stephen and Davidson, Julia and Bifulco, Antonia (2014) Online offending behaviour and child victimisation: new findings and policy. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137365095
  • Davidson, J & Gottschalk, P (2011) ‘Characteristics of the Internet for Criminal Child Sexual Abuse by Online Groomers’ Critical Journal of Crime, Law and Society. Vol 24, 1, 2011. Routledge.
  • Davidson, J and Gottschalk, P (Eds) Internet Child Abuse: Current Research, Policy & Practice Routledge  (7/2010)

Journal articles:

  • Smith PK, Thompson, F & Davidson, J (2014) Cyber safety for adolescent girls: bullying, harassment, sexting, pornography, and solicitation. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol 2014, 26:000–000
  • Bergen E, Davidson, J, Schulz A et al. (2014) The Effects of Using Identity Deception and Suggesting Secrecy on the Outcomes of Adult-Adult and Adult-Child or – Adolescent Online Sexual Interactions. Victims & Offenders: An International Journal of Evidence-based Research, Policy, and Practice, 9:3, 276-298.
  • Davidson, J & Gottschalk, P (2011) ‘Characteristics of the Internet for Criminal Child Sexual Abuse by Online Groomers’ Critical Journal of Crime, Law and Society. Vol 24, 1, 2011. Routledge.
  • Davidson, J, Quayle, E & Morganbasser, L (Eds) (2010) ‘Special issue: Child sexual abuse and the Internet: Offenders, victims and managing the risk’ Journal of Sexual Aggression, Vol 16, 2. Routledge

For full list of research publications visit Prof Davidson’s university profile page.

Dr Jeffrey DeMarco
Dr Jeffrey DeMarcoForensic Psychologist
Catherine Jacobs
Catherine JacobsHonorary Research Psychologist
Dr Lisa Kagan
Dr Lisa KaganResearch Fellow
Dr Deborah Rodriquez
Dr Deborah RodriquezResearch Fellow
Dr Ruth Spence
Dr Ruth SpenceResearch Fellow

Associate researchers

Dr Andrea Oskis
Dr Andrea OskisResearch Psychologist
Dr Stephen Nunn
Dr Stephen NunnResearch Psychologist
Dr Elena Martellozzo
Dr Elena MartellozzoSenior Lecturer in Psychology
Dr Richard Barry
Dr Richard BarrySenior Lecturer in Psychology
Ellouise Long
Ellouise LongResearch Psychologist
Dr Julie Trebilcock
Dr Julie Trebilcock Senior Lecturer Criminology
Dr Jenni Ward
Dr Jenni WardSenior Lecturer Criminology
Dr Anna Gekoski
Dr Anna GekoskiLecturer Cybercrime
Dr Tine Munk
Dr Tine MunkLecturer Cybercrime

CATS PhD students

Waleid Alantali

How cybercrime laws can be enforced in the civil and criminal courts in the UAE.
Supervisor: Julia Davidson.

Nicola Coleman

‘How the concept of ‘the family’ is constructed within a Youth Offending Team (YOT): A case study’,
Supervisors: David Porteous, Elena Martellozzo, Carly Guest.

Charmaine Deuker

Exploring the changes in identifying and supporting children who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Supervisor: Julia Davidson.

Sam Jenkins

A critical evaluation of the justifications for the criminalisation of Virtual Child Pornography.
Supervisors: Julia Davidson (lead) and Elena Martellozzo.

Spiwe Cecilia Mwanaka

Examining the extent to which parents are being prosecuted for alleged breaches of children’s rights, the manner in which conflicts between parental and children’s rights are considered in investigative practice.
Supervisors: Anthony Amatrudo (lead), Julia Davidson and Angus Nurse.

Claire Powell

A qualitative investigation of attachment and separation of mothers with babies in prison.
Supervisors: Antonia Bifulco and Lisa Marzano.

Our funders, partners and collaborators

Get in touch

Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS) Middlesex University, Hendon Church Farm House, Church End, London, NW4 4JR