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Factors that increase or mitigate risk of engagement in criminal behaviour in children who have experienced child maltreatment

Eligibility: UK/EU/International. Fee is UK/EU fee based only- international applicants are required to evidence the ability to pay the remaining balance.

Award Details: £15,000 bursary per annum plus tuition fees for 3 years. Consumables of up to £5,000 per year for 3 years

Duration: Full time - 3 years 6 months fixed term. (Maximum study period to completion is 4 years).

Application deadline: May 2nd (5pm)

For informal enquiries about this studentship, please contact Professor Sarah Brown.

Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a Research Degree at Coventry University. As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’. Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

The Project

Factors that increase or mitigate risk of engagement in criminal behaviour in children who have experienced child maltreatment research indicates that adverse developmental outcomes following maltreatment arise from the accumulation of risk factors across multiple domains over time. However, there is a dearth of research investigating the factors that support healthy development following maltreatment, and how these moderate the relationship between high levels of risk factors and adverse outcomes. Recently, Prof. Brown and her colleagues at Coventry University conducted a review for the Early Intervention Foundation, funded by the Home Office examining the evidence in relation to factors during childhood that reduce or increase the risk of victimisation or perpetration of child sexual abuse or exploitation. They found no research that had specifically examined factors that reduce risk. Over the last couple of years, Dr Luebbers, Prof. Ogloff and their colleagues have been working with a dataset of child sexual abuse victims to determine the long-term adverse outcomes. It is clear from this research that not all children suffer long-term adverse outcomes. The aim of this PhD research, therefore, is to examine the resilience/protective/developmental factors in children in the UK who have experienced maltreatment to determine what factors differentiate between those that experience adverse outcomes and those that do not. The objective is to improve knowledge about relevant risk and protective factors, critical intervention points, and specific treatment or management targets. 

About the Centre/Department

The Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement focuses on the development and evaluation of theoretically-rooted, evidence-based psychological interventions across a range of areas: children's literacy and developmental disorders, violence and interpersonal aggression, identity and resilience in communities and organisations, cognition, neuropsychology and psychopharmacology. Related to this aim is the need to develop theoretical models that map the environmental and personal factors that impact successful intervention. We work in partnership with key stakeholders to identify key challenges, develop resources, evaluate initiatives and theoretical models, and to create sustainable approaches to impact.

Successful Applicants

Successful Applicants will have:

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in Psychology with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
  • In the event of a first degree classification of less than 2:1, a Masters Degree in Psychology will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall minimum marks at merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a minimum mark at merit level (60%).
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a three-year period of study
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)


  • knowledge and/or experience in the subject
  • a good knowledge of the impact of child sexual abuse and child maltreatment,
  • experimental, multi-variate analyses and modelling or analytical experience
  • experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn) about development life-course theories and research.

Eligibility & Application procedure

Application Procedure:

Application information can be found in our how to apply section. Before completing the application please contact Professor Sarah Brown for an initial informal discussion about the opportunity.


All UK/EU/International students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found making an application page.