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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr Kimberly Collins works part time as 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 (1st class) where she stayed on to complete an MSc in Psychological Research Methods (Distinction), 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, trauma-informed practice, and research methods at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Currently she is course leader for the MA in Trauma-informed Practice.  She is also module leader for ‘The Psychology of Investigations’, 'Understanding Childhood Trauma' and 'Working with Traumatised Children'.

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.

Summary of Research Interests

Dr Collins is a member of the 'Forensic Psychology' research group at Teesside University's Centre for Applied Psychological Science (CAPS).  

Her 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 recently completed two funded projects.  One focusing on Scottish police officers' perceptions of trauma informed policing, funded by the Scottish Institute of Policing Research with collaborators from Edinburgh University. The second involved a rapid evidence review of support mechanisms for children and young people who have been the victims of crime.  This was funded by Thames Valley Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in collaboration with Professor Nadia Wager and Dr Nikki Carthy from Teesside University.  

She is currently working on two research projects. The first is entitled 'The effect of fair lineup modification on child witness accuracy' in collaboration with other colleagues from Teesside University, University of Canberra and the University of West of Scotland.  The second project is focusing on a co-production approach with police officers on how deliver trauma informed care to victims of rape.

Finally, Dr Collins has one PhD completion and currently supervises four PhD students: (1). Caitlin Correia who is examining the impact of presumptive guilt questioning on interviews with innocent suspects, (2). Kay Cooke who is exploring the impact of rapport building during forensic interviews with children, (3). Rebecca Hinton who is carrying out exploratory research looking at the trauma informed care offered to victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack, and (4). Colin Docherty who is investigating trauma informed care for male survivors of child sexual abuse. 

Enterprise Interest and Activities

Dr Collins has trained national and international 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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