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Dr Laura Farrugia

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Lecturer in Psychology

I've recently joined University of Sunderland as a Lecturer, having spent some time at Manchester Metropolitan University. In addition to working as a Lecturer, I work as a Registered Intermediary (accredited by the Ministry of Justice) and assist with vulnerable victims/witnesses at the police interview and trial stage.

Teaching and supervision

I am Programme Leader for the new BSc Forensic Psychology course that is due to commence in September 2018. In addition, I am Module Leader for Introduction to Forensic Psychology and also teach on Psychological Research and Everyday Motivations and Biases.

Research interests for potential research students

I am primarily interested in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and how it deals with vulnerable individuals, especially mentally disordered suspects at the police interview stage. Are best practice interview techniques appropriate for everyone; does one size fit all?

I also have a keen research interest in how mentally disordered individuals are perceived within the CJS and the role of Appropriate Adults during interviews with vulnerable suspects, as well as false confessions and miscarriages of justice. In addition, my research interests include the role of the Registered Intermediary and vulnerable victims and witnesses.


My PhD focuses specifically on the investigative interviewing of mentally disordered suspects. This includes how police officers perceive those with mental disorder and explores concepts of 'dangerousness' and the 'criminalisation hypothesis'.

My work also investigates if current interviewing practice and guidance is best practice for this vulnerable group: including questioning strategies, interviewer and interviewee characteristics (such as suggestibility, compliance and acquiescence), and the role and efficacy of the Appropriate Adult.

I also examine the way that police officers evaluate their own interviews and I am one of the founding members of the Forensic Interview Trace.
  • Police interviewing including effective evaluations of police interviews and the Forensic Interview Trace
  • Vulnerable suspects, particularly those with a mental disorder
  • The role of the Appropriate Adult
  • False confessions
  • Miscarriages of justice
  • The Registered Intermediary
  • The trial process

Last updated 13 March 2020