School of Psychology

World-leading research and teaching

Professor Theresa Gannon

Professor Theresa Gannon

Director of the Centre of Research & Education in Forensic Psychology
Deputy Head of School
Professor of Forensic Psychology
Chartered Forensic Psychologist


Research interests

  • The cognition of child molesters, rapists, and violent offenders
  • Female sex offenders
  • The rehabilitation and treatment of sexual offenders
  • Applied cognitive-experimental psychology
  • Arson and firesetting

Arson and firesetting
I am interested in research examining all aspects of arson or firesetting. Over the past few years I have developed two empirically based standardized treatment programmes for offenders who have set fires: The Firesetting Intervention Programme for Prisoners (FIPP) and the Firesetting Intervention Programme for Mentally Disordered Offenders (FIP-MO). Both programmes are based on existing research knowledge and theory relating to firesetting (Click here to access our latest published paper on theory [publication 1] and treatment needs [publication 2]). The FIPP has been run in South East prisons and the results of this programme are currently being evaluated. The FIP-MO is being run nationally across the UK within private hospitals and the NHS. If you would like your hospital to take part in the FIP-MO then please e-mail Nichola Tyler who is the Research Associate coordinating this evaluation ( For any other information please e-mail me directly.


Female sexual offending
I am interested in research examining the treatment needs and characteristics of female sexual offenders. To date, my research has focused on examining the offence supportive beliefs associated with female sexual offending as well as the offence styles of these women, and the specific factors that lead them to offend in the form of offence process theory (click here to access our paper on the offence process of female sexual offenders [publication 3] and our latest paper examining this theory [publication 4). More recently, I have begun to investigate the sexual fantasies and attachment styles of females who sexually offend.

Male sexual offending
I am specifically interested in methods of increasing honest disclosures in men who have sexually offended as well as research examining the offence supportive beliefs and cognitions of this population. In 2010, CORE-FP colleagues and myself won a Ministry of Justice tender to evaluate mandatory polygraph testing for sexual offenders released on license in the UK. As a result of our research (click here to access the government report []), new legislation was passed to allow polygraph testing for men who have sexually offended in the UK.

Key publications

  • Gannon, T.A., Ó Ciardha, C., Doley, R.M., & Alleyne, E. (2012). The multi-trajectory theory of adult firesetting. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17, 107-121.
  • Gannon, T. A., & O’Connor, A. (2011). The development of the interest in child molestation scale. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment, 23, 474-493.
  • Gannon, T. A., & Rose, M. R. (2009) Offence-related interpretative bias in female child molesters: A preliminary study. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 21, 194-207.
  • Gannon, T. A., Rose, M. R., & Ward, T. (2008). A descriptive model of the offense process for female sexual offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 20, 352-374.






School of Psychology - Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP

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Last Updated: 27/03/2019