School of Psychology

Staff Profiles

Dr Gavin Oxburgh

Forensic Psychologist

Background

Background

Dr. Gavin Oxburgh is a Reader in Applied Forensic Psychology and a member of the School Executive. He is a Forensic Psychologist (HCPC Registered), a Chartered Psychologist and Scientist, a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS). He is also a registered Expert Witness with the BPS and has provided advice in legal cases in the UK and overseas. Following an appointment at NHS Lothian, Edinburgh, as the Child Protection and Vulnerable Persons Training Lead (2004 - 2006), Gavin entered academia, and joined the School of Psychology at Newcastle University in September 2013. Prior to academia, he had a highly successful 22-year career with the Royal Air Force Police where he was a senior detective specialising in crime management, child protection and sexual offences, serving throughout the UK and across Europe. He is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian Police University College, Oslo, and a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Kings College London. 

Professional Qualifications

PhD Forensic Psychology - University of Portsmouth, UK.  Thesis entitled, Developing a more effective framework for the investigative interviewing of suspected sex offenders.

MSc Forensic Psychology - University of Portsmouth, UK.  Thesis entitled, Police officers use of emotional language during child sexual abuse investigations (see Oxburgh, Williamson & Ost, 2006, in Publications for further details).

BSc (Hons) Psychology - The Open University, UK.

PgCLTHE - Teesside University, UK 

International Collaboration and Consultancy

Gavin works in close collaboration with many police forces and law enforcement agencies around the world, providing consultancy and training on a wide variety of topics relating to forensic psychology. For example, he works in close collaboration with the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, and provides specialist training to their investigation team. In July 2016, he was invited to the American University Washington College of Law (WCL) in Washington DC, USA, by the United Nations to assist in the drafting of a new thematic report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The report addresses the need for the development of a universally applicable protocol for interrogations, investigations, and custody practices that are grounded in fundamental principles of international human rights law, and particularly the legal prohibition of torture.

He has also trained members of the European Investment Bank, UNHCR and UNDP Investigation Services in specialist interview techniques. He has previously provided specialist training to members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) on the investigative interviewing of victims, witnesses and suspects involved in child sexual abuse and on-line child exploitation. In 2008, he was a specialist advisor to the Credibility Assessment Research Summit (CARS) on Educing Information from suspects, a US Government research group sponsored by the Defence Academy for Credibility Assessment (DACA).

Membership of Professional Bodies

Gavin is a member of the following professional bodies:

  • The UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC);
  • The British Psychological Society (BPS);
  • The BPS Division of Forensic Psychology (DFP) Training Committee; 
  • The American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS); 
  • The European Association of Psychology & Law (EAPL); 
  • The UK Higher Education Academy (HEA);
  • The UK Science Council (UKSC). 

Research

Research

Gavin's research draws upon, and contributes to, theoretical and empirical research in the broad area of forensic psychology and, in particular, the sub-field of investigative interviews with victims, witnesses and suspected offenders. This includes: (i) the social and cognitive processes associated with achieving co-operation and the elicitation of memories from eye-witnesses and suspects of crime; (ii) miscarriages of justice, and; (iii) the interviewing of high-interest groups (HIGs) such as sex offenders and murderers. Gavin also conducts research relating to communication in legal contexts, forensic linguistics, the effects of empathy during investigative interviews, and historical allegations of child sexual abuse.

Gavin has published widely in the area of forensic psychology, policing, and communication, and regularly reviews research grants, empirical research papers and books for various research councils, major publishers and internationally renowned journals. He is also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, and is a member of the Centre for Research in Linguistics and Language Sciences (CRiLLS) at Newcastle University. In 2015, he founded the Newcastle Forensic Psychology Research Group and has developed a bespoke Forensic Interview Laboratory for use by staff and students conducting research in investigative interviewing. 

PhD Supervision

Gavin is currently the Director of Studies to:

  • Gary Pankhurst - Improving techniques to facilitate information retrieval during investigative interviews of suspected sex offenders;
  • William Webster - Towards an effective framework for interviews with victims of sexual assaults.  

If you are interested in conducting a PhD under Gavin's supervision, please contact him at gavin.oxburgh@ncl.ac.uk 

Recent Research Income (total successful funding received to date = £2,809,753.78).

January 2017 – British Academy: Hope, L., Gabbert, F., Oxburgh, G.E., Ferenczi , N., & Umurerwa, O. (2016). Supporting the investigation of genocide, war crime and crimes against humanity: Towards evidence-driven policy for building trust and rapport in cross-cultural interviewing contexts (total grant received = £43,655).

March 2016 – College of Policing, UK: Gabbert, F., Hope, L., Oxburgh, G. E., La Rooy, D., Oxburgh, L. D., Wheeler, R., McGregor, A. (2016). The development of a systematic map - What works in investigative interviewing? (SO16774) (total grant received = £7,553.28);

June 2015 – Newcastle University Innovation Fund: St Clair-Thompson, H., Rosenkranz, P., Tzemou, E., Clapperton, T., Fielden, A., Thorpe, S., Oxburgh, G. E. (2015). How to facilitate reading for undergraduate psychology students (total grant received = £1,520).

June 2015 – Patent Support Fund, Newcastle University: Oxburgh, G. E., Oxburgh, L. D., & Gabbert, F. (2015). Development of ‘Forensic Interview Trace’ software (total grant received = £6,500).

March 2015 – Newcastle University PhD Studentship (commencing September 2015): Improving techniques to facilitate information retrieval during investigative interviews of suspected sex offenders (total award = £60,000).

February 2015 – Joint Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant: Gross, T., Oxburgh, G. E., Bacardit, J., Yan, J., Ploetz, T., van Moorsel, A., & Yan, J. (2014). CRITiCaL – Combatting cRiminals In The Cloud (total grant = £2,503,635.35 (£1,178,126.61 excluding matched funding from HEIs & other partners).

February 2015 - N8 Policing Research Partnership - HEFCE Catalyst Fund. Innovation and the application of knowledge for more effective policing. Clark, J., & Oxburgh, G. E. (total grant = £193,118.43). Part of a grant application to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for £2,999,822 (overall grant total = circa. £7,100,000 which includes matched funding from N8 HEIs and policing partners).

International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iIIRG)

Gavin is the Chair and Founding Director of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iIIRG), a worldwide network of interviewing professionals, developed to maintain research-based practice and practice-based research amongst academic researchers and law-enforcement professionals. The iIIRG, which was founded in 2007, is now present in 31 countries and has its own International, peer-reviewed journal, Investigative Interviewing: Research and PracticeIf you would like to join the iIIRG or just find out more about this unique and specialist group, please click here

Media and Public Engagement Activities (related to research)

Gavin has taken part in public engagement activities and provided interviews about his research and International collaboration: 

  • The Psychology of a Murder Investigation. Assisted with organisation, development and appearance in a public engagement initiative with Goldsmiths, University of London, 29th of January 2016;
  • Interview with BBC Radio 4 on the German Luftwaffe’s WWII ‘master interrogator’ Hanns Scharff and the effectiveness of empathy during contemporary police interviews and interrogations.  Interrogation without pliers.  Programme broadcast on 15th October 2012;
  • Interview with NBC Business, USA, on the effectiveness of interview techniques in the UK and USA.  10th February 2012, Middlesbrough, UK;
  • Interview with BBC Radio Tees on child sexual abuse and Internet grooming of children.  31st January 2012, Middlesbrough, UK.

Teaching

Teaching Responsibilities 

Undergraduate

Postgraduate 

PhD Supervision

Gavin is currently the Director of Studies to:

  • Gary Pankhurst - Improving techniques to facilitate information retrieval during investigative interviews of suspected sex offenders;
  • William Webster - Towards an effective framework for interviews with victims of sexual assaults.  

If you are interested in conducting a PhD under Gavin's supervision, please view his research areas (using the Research tab above), then contact him at gavin.oxburgh@ncl.ac.uk 

Office Hours

Please e-mail Gavin at gavin.oxburgh@ncl.ac.uk to make an appointment. 

Publications