Dr Kathy Charles

Lecturer , Forensic Psychology, Edinburgh Napier University

Beltane Fellow: 1 Sept 2010 – 28 Feb 2011

Kathy’s research covers the area of forensic psychology and her PhD focussed on the role of interests, personality and competitiveness in offending during adolescence.  Since completing her PhD Kathy has continued to be involved in pieces of research, consultancy and CPD related to this area.  She is also a chartered psychologist with the British Psychological Society. Currently as a lecturer Kathy is responsible for two undergraduate modules in the area of forensic psychology and also teaching second and third year undergraduate research methods modules.

The purpose of Kathy’s fellowship is to bring up to date the psychological research on youth offending to those who work directly with offenders on a daily basis.  Through a series of workshops community groups who work with offenders will be able to explore ways to integrate psychological research into their activities.  An example of how this would work, based on research she has recently published, considers the influence of competitiveness in young offenders.  Those who are very competitive admit to more criminal behaviour than those who are less competitive.  This knowledge can be used to shape the activities of community groups so that competition can be incorporated into aspects of their programmes.  The fellowship would spread findings from forensic psychology into practical contexts more quickly than waiting for research to be summarised in book form and waiting further for a book targeted at non-psychologists working with adolescents.

A further aim of the fellowship is to show participants how they can more effectively evaluate the impact of their work with young offenders so as to improve their chances of receiving continued funding.  The advantage of this is that community groups can develop a skill within their organisation rather than having to pay for external help.