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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr Kimberly Collins is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law. She studied her first degree in Psychology at Stirling University where she stayed on to complete an MSc in Psychological Research Methods, and a PhD supervised by developmental psychologists Dr Martin Doherty and Professor Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon.

Her MSc and PhD work was funded by a 1 + 3 ESRC scholarship, and examined the impact of the rapport building phase on children’s verbal and non-verbal communication in child investigative interviews. She commenced her most recent post at Teesside University in June 2011, and completed her PhD studies in the winter of 2012. Kimberly has experience in teaching forensic and developmental psychology, and research methods at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Currently she is module leader for ‘The Psychology of Investigations’ and ‘Law, Justice, and Psychology’.

Dr Collins also works as a Registered Intermediary.  Her work as an intermediary involves assessing the communication needs of vulnerable individuals who are participating in the criminal justice system. Based on the findings of her assessments she provides recommendations to the police and criminal courts on how best to question these vulnerable individuals. Dr Collins also has experience of working as an expert witness in court.

Summary of Research Interests

Dr Collins is the research theme leader for the 'Vulnerable victims and offenders in the criminal justice system' group at Teesside University's Centre for Applied Psychological Science (CAPS).  

She also helps run the CAPS blog which disseminates information to the public about the work of the CAPS members, its affiliates and students from the University's Psychology department.  

Dr Collins' research interests focus on the facilitation of the communication of vulnerable witnesses and suspects during police interviews and court proceedings. Some of the topics covered include trauma-informed policing, communication assessents and the work of Registered Intermediaries, rapport building during police investigative interviews, and jury decision making in cases involving vulnerable witnesses.  Her research has a strong focus on both the role of verbal and non-verbal cues in communication. During her research she has collaborated with various UK police forces.

Dr Collins is currently working on several research projects. One of the projects, funded by the Scottish Institute of Policing Research, is examining police officers' experiences of working with victims and offenders who have had Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). A second project is exploring the trauma-informed practice of frontline police officers.  A third project is examining the impact of pixilation and appearance change to suspects' images on children's accuracy rates during video identity parades.

Finally, Dr Collins is Director of Studies for two PhD students; Alex Smethurst and Rebecca Croser. Alex is examining the impact of communicative scaffolding during police interviews with child witnesses, and Rebecca is exploring the communication of child defendants throughout the legal process.

Enterprise Interest and Activities

Dr Collins has trained national police forces on how to build rapport with and interview young children during investigative interviews. Dr Collins is a trained forensic interviewer for vulnerable victims and witnesses.

Dr Collins has delivered training workshops to a variety of different organizations e.g. the National Crime Agency, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, The Scottish Joint Investigative Interviewing Project, Triangle etc. These workshops have focused on best practice for questioning vulnerable witnesses in the criminal justice system. Dr Collins has also co-written toolkits for the Advocate's Gateway Website on how to question children and other vulnerable witnesses.  


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