Drs Hannah Merdian & Ross Bartels present at IATSO 2016

Last week (6-10th Sept), FCRG members Hannah Merdian and Ross Bartels attended and presented at the 14th conference of the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders (IATSO) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Hannah at IATSO 2016


Hannah gave two presentations. One was alongside Prof. Derek Perkins and centred on describing the new ‘Merdian-Perkins Pathways Model’ of Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM) use. Here, Hannah discussed the numerous factors that interact to influence CSEM offending. Prof. Perkins showed how the model can be applied to a real-world case. The second talk was about findings from a study conducted by PhD student Danielle Kettleborough contrasting CSEM users with a community members on various psychological factors.


Ross at IATSO 2016


Ross also gave two presentations. In the first, Ross reported findings from two studies that explored the use of mousetracking to assess sexual interest in community males. In the second, results from an interview study aimed at identifying CSEM-related implicit theories were reported.


In addition, Hannah was voted in as a new member of IATSO board, which is great news. Overall, the IATSO 2016 conference was full of exciting and insightful talks, with the bonus of being set in a lovely city.

Looking forward to the next one in 2018 in Lithuania.

Dr Ross Bartels Presents at Conference on Relationship Research

Dr Ross Bartels was recently invited to speak in a symposium on sexual fantasy at the 2016 conference for the International Association for Relationship Research in Toronto, Canada. Other speakers included organiser and relationship researcher Geoff MacDonald (University of Toronto, CAN); relationship and sexual fantasy researcher Gurit Birnbaum (IDC Herzliya, Israel); and personality psychologist Beth Visser (Lakehead University, CAN).

Me at IARR

Ross accepted and went on to give a talk at the conference (on the 22nd July) entitled “A Rich Fantasy Life? The influence of fantasy proneness, dissociation, vividness of visual imagery on males’ aggressive sexual fantasies”.

Based on the findings of the study, Ross highlighted that, in addition to content, we should also address the factors that affect the ability (or process) of sexually fantasising; in this case, one’s imaginal ability.

Each talk in the symposium was extremely interesting, complimented each other, and generated some great questions and comments from the audience. Moreover, the conference was fascinating overall, with some great research being showcased.

To read about some of this research, check out the Twitter feed for the IARR conference using the following hashtag: #IARR2016


Darragh McCashin joins FCRG!

We are delighted to announce that Darragh McCashin has joined the FCRG.

Darragh is a research assistant within the onlinePROTECT team. During the next year, Darragh will be focusing on the evaluation of ‘The Pathways Model’ for Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM) users, led by Dr Hannah Median and Prof. Derek Perkins. With an MSc in Applied Forensic Psychology (University of York), he intends to purse a PhD investigating the differentiation of Internet sex offenders in the future. Currently, Darragh also volunteers with YHLCOSA and PACE.

With a background in the social sciences (Trinity College Dublin), Darragh has previously researched attitudes and perceptions of sexual abuse with a variety of populations. Additionally, Darragh has upheld several research assistantships in Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin, as well as a teaching stint in Saudi Arabia.

We warmly welcome Darragh to the group and look forward to hearing how his work unfolds over the next year.

Darragh can be followed on Twitter at here

New publications on gambling by Dr Amanda Roberts!

Good cheer!!! Dr Amanda Roberts (of the the FCRG) has just had two papers accepted for publication

The first reports the results of six focus-groups conducted with 40 gamblers to uncover the aspects of Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) that they found most attractive. Results revealed that two broad groups of characteristics emerged from the data; one linked to winning and the other with betting. For more info, follow the link below.


The second reports the results of a study examining gambling and violence in a sample of 3025 adults males from the UK. It was found that, after adjusting for alcohol and drug dependence, comorbid mental disorder and impulsivity, problem gambling was shown to be predictive of various measures of violent behaviour. For more, follow the link below.

Charlotte Wesson receives NOTA Student Award!

We are very pleased to announce that PhD student and FCRG member – Charlotte Wesson – has been awarded the Student Grant Award from the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers.

Charlotte has received a small research grant to aid her research that involves developing a new indirect measure to assess sexual interest – both typical and atypical – in offender and non-offender populations. Charlotte is aiming for this new measure to be used as a clinical tool (e.g., for use in forensic settings) as well as a research tool to help gain deeper insights into human sexuality.

Well done Charlotte! We wish you all the best with the research!