Acts of aggression and violence — including assault, homicide and sexual violence — represent some of the most harmful of all antisocial behaviours. They are associated with substantial personal and social harms and have an enormous financial impact, costing economies billions of dollars each year in health care, legal and justice system costs, absenteeism from work and lost productivity. Given the extent of the burden resulting from aggression and violence and the large proportion of prisoner populations who have been convicted of violent crimes, it is critical we devote attention and resources to the development of violence prevention and intervention programs. 

Our research into aggression and violence focuses on: 

  • understanding aggression and violent behaviour and its relationship with mental disorder 
  • improving the assessment, treatment and management of violent offenders 
  • enhancing the assessment of risk for violent offending 
  • developing and refining theories of violence and testing the utility of theories in clinical and forensic practice. 

Current and recent projects 

Our projects include studies exploring: 

  • the relationship between personality disorder and violence 
  • violence risk assessment and management procedures 
  • understanding the role of the therapeutic alliance in the treatment of violent offenders 
  • testing a treatment for violent script rehearsal. 

Research stream leaders 

Recent publications 

Roberton, T. & Daffern, M. (2020). Precipitants to aggression and warning signs among older adults in residential facilities. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 51. 

Maguire, T., Daffern, M., Bowe, S. & McKenna, B. (2019). Evaluating the impact of an electronic application of the Dynamic Appraisal of Situational Aggression with an embedded aggression prevention protocol on aggression and restrictive practices in forensic mental health unit.  International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 28(5), 1183-1194. doi: 10.1111/inm.12630 

Papalia, N., Spivak, B., Daffern, M. & Ogloff, J.R.P. (2019). A meta-analytic review of the efficacy of psychological treatments for violent offenders in correctional and forensic mental health settings. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 26(2), e12282. 

Hachtel, H., Harries, C., Luebbers, S. & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2018).  Violent offending in schizophrenia spectrum disorders preceding and following diagnosis.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 52, 8, 782-792. DOI: 10.1177/0004867418763103 

Dunne, A.L., Gilbert, F., & Daffern, M. (2018). Investigating the relationship between DSM-5 Personality Disorder Domains and Facets and Aggression in an Offender Population using the Personality Inventory for the DSM-5. Journal of Personality Disorders, 32(5), 668-693. doi: 10.1521/pedi_2017_31_322 

Dunne, A.L., Gilbert, F., Lee, S. & Daffern, M. (2018). The role of aggression‐related early maladaptive schemas and schema modes in aggression in a prisoner sample. Aggressive Behavior, 44(3), 246-256. doi:10.1002/ab.21747 

Podubinski, T., Lee, S., Hollander, Y. & Daffern, M. (2017).  Patient characteristics associated with aggression in mental health units. Psychiatry Research, 250, 141-145. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.078 

Watson, R., Daffern, M. & Thomas, S.D.M. (2017). The impact of interpersonal style on ruptures and repairs in the therapeutic alliance between offenders and therapists in sex offender treatment. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. 29(7), 709-728. doi: 10.1177/1079063215617514 

Klepfisz, G., Daffern, M. & Day, A. (2016). Understanding dynamic risk factors for violence. Psychology, Crime & Law, 22(1-2), 124-137. doi:10.1080/1068316X.2015.1109091 

Explore our other research programs

Contact the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science

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