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Kimberly Collins


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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 ‘Applied Forensic Psychology’, ‘The Psychology of Investigations’ and ‘Law, Justice, and Psychology’.

Kimberly 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.

Summary of Research Interests

Kimberly is a researcher within the Social Futures Institute at Teesside University, and the forensic psychology representative for the University's Centre for Crime, Harm, Prevention & Security steering group.

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 rapport building with child witnesses, the development of a model for assessing rapport during interviews with sex offenders, jury decision making in cases involving intermediaries, vulnerable witnesses and suspects.  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.

Kimberly is currently working on several research projects. For example, one of the projects is examining the assessment practice of Registered Intermediaries when assessing the communication skills of children participating in the criminal justice system.  Another project, funded by the Scottish Institute of Policing Research, is examining police officers' experiences of working with offenders who have had Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Finally, Kimberly is Director of Studies for two PhD students; Alex Smethurst and Rebecca Croser. Alex is examining the impact of the intermediary role on children's communication during police interviews, and Rebecca is exploring the communication of child defendants in court.

Enterprise Interest and Activities

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

Kimberly is an intermediary development officer for the North of England. This involves training practitioners about the work of intermediaries and supervising local intermediaries who work with defendants who have communication difficulties.

Kimberly has delivered training workshops to a variety of different organizations e.g. the National Crime Agency, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe etc. These workshops have focused on best practice for questioning vulnerable witnesses in the criminal justice system.


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