Dr Jessica Woodhams


Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology

School of Psychology

Jessica Woodhams

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Jessica is a chartered psychologist and an HCPC registered forensic psychologist. Her primary areas of research are policing and sexual offending. She is the founder of the international academic-practitioner C-LINK network (Crime Linkage International NetworK, www.crimelinkage.org).


  • PhD (Leicester), ‘Juvenile sex offending: An investigative perspective’.
  • M.Sc. Forensic Psychology (Kent)
  • B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology (Southampton)


Jessica began her career in forensic psychology as a crime analyst for the London Metropolitan Police where she specialised in the analysis of stranger sex offences and homicides. Following this, she took up the post of Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the University of Leicester where she worked for approximately six years and was the Course Leader of two distance-learning Masters courses in forensic psychology. Whilst working full-time she studied for her PhD part-time. The focus of her PhD reflected her previous employment as a crime analyst and investigated whether rape series committed by juvenile sex offenders could be accurately identified using similarity in modus operandi. In 2008 she moved to the University of Gloucestershire and took up the post of Principal Lecturer in Forensic Psychology. There she designed and set up two new courses in forensic psychology. In 2010, she joined the Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology at the University of Birmingham.

Since commencing her career in academia in 2002, Jessica has continued to stay involved in case work and consultancy. She has been consulted on high profile cases for the London Metropolitan Police and the Scottish Crown Office. She has conducted operational research for several police forces and agencies, including Northamptonshire Police, Greater Manchester Police, the London Metropolitan Police, the National Policing Improvement Agency and the South African Police Service, and for the Youth Offending Service. In recognition of her early career achievement, Jessica received an award from the European Association of Psychology and Law in 2010.

In 2013, following the award of the Leverhulme International Networks grant, she founded C-LINK (Crime Linkage International NetworK), an international network for practitioners and researchers with a professional interest in the behavioural linking of crimes (www.crimelinkage.org).


Jessica is the Course Director of the MSc/PGDip in Clinical Criminology and the MSc in Criminological Psychology. She supervises several PhD students and is the academic tutor for a number of postgraduate students registered on the suite of forensic psychology postgraduate courses. She also supervises the research of two undergraduate psychology students per year. She lectures on several forensic psychology postgraduate modules as well as contributing to the undergraduate modules in forensic psychology.

Postgraduate supervision

Jessica has supervised more than 100 MSc students to date and supervises several ForenPsyD students each year.

Current PhD students:

Kari Davies

Paul Dawson (co-supervised with Louise Dixon)

Fazeelat Duran (co-supervised with Beth Grunfeld)

Emma Jones (co-supervised with Tony Beech)

Kamonchanok Montasevee (co-supervised with Louise Dixon)

Teresa da Silva

Chelsea Slater

Zoe Stephenson

Completed PhD Supervision:

Mark Kells

Matthew Tonkin

Shannon Vettor


Investigative Psychology
Assisting police decision-making, including case linkage (behavioural linking of crimes), offender prioritisation and investigative risk assessment, offender profiling, and identifying false allegations.

Sexual and Serial Offending
Sexual offending (particularly offences committed by strangers, juveniles and groups), modus operandi behaviour, victim coping strategies, serial offending (including robbery, burglary and sexual offences).

Selected research grants

College of Policing Innovation Fund Grant
Co-I and Lead for University of Birmingham
Grant to set up a consortium involving five police forces, four universities and Skills for Justice which will engage in knowledge-exchange activities and research planning.

Member of Scientific Team for University of Birmingham
6 Million Euro (550,000 Euro for University of Birmingham)

C-LINK (Crime Linkage International NetworK)
Leverhulme Trust
Grant to set up an international network of crime linkage researchers and practitioners (inc. collaborative research projects)

Multiple Perpetrator Rape: Setting the Research Agenda (with Dr. Horvath)
British Psychological Society
Grant to host a seminar series on multiple perpetrator rape

Developing practitioner skills using real-world simulations (with Drs. Harkins, Dixon & Hamilton-Giachritsis)
Higher Education Academy
Grant to develop realistic teaching materials for forensic psychology students/trainees

Improving the identification of serial crime using iterative classification trees (ICTs)
British Academy
Grant to conduct empirical study on crime linkage with robberies, burglaries and sex offences

Offender Violence and Victim Coping in Group Rape: Advancing Theory and Interventions
Nuffield Foundation
Grant to conduct empirical study of the use of violence by suspects and the coping strategies of victims in multiple perpetrator rapes

Other activities

Associate Editor for Journal of Sexual Aggression.

Editorial Board Member for Legal and Criminological Psychology.


Please email me if you would like a copy of any of my publications below and or any that are pre-2010.

Journal articles since 2010

Sleath, E., & Woodhams, J. (in press). Expectations about victim and offender behaviour during stranger rape. Psychology, Crime and Law.

Slater, C., Woodhams, J., & Hamilton-Giachritsis, C. (in press). Can serial rapists be distinguished from one-off rapists? Behavioral Sciences and the Law.

Bennell, C., Mugford, R., Ellingwood, E., & Woodhams, J. (in press). Linking crimes using behavioural clues: Current levels of linking accuracy and strategies for moving forward. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling.

Stephenson, Z., Woodhams, J., & Cooke, C. (in press). Sex differences in predictors of violent and non-violent juvenile offending. Aggressive Behavior.

da Silva, T., Woodhams, J., & Harkins, L. (in press). Heterogeneity in multiple perpetrator rapes: A national comparison of lone, duo and 3+ perpetrator rapes. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment.

Stephenson, Z., Harkins, L., & Woodhams, J. (2013). The sequencing of interventions with offenders: An addition to the responsivity principle. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 13, 429-455.

Woodhams, J., & Cooke, C. (2013). Suspect aggression and victim resistance in multiple perpetrator rapes. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 1509-1516.

Woodhams, J., & Labuschagne, G.N. (2012).  South African serial rapists: The offenders, their victims and their offences. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 24, 544-574.

Bennell, C., & Woodhams, J. (2012). Behavioural linking of crimes. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 9, 199-200.

Tonkin, M., Woodhams, J., Bull, R., Bond, J. & Santtila, P. (2012). A comparison of logistic regression and classification tree analysis for behavioural case linkage. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 9, 235-258.

Harkins, L., Flak, V., Beech, A.R., & Woodhams, J. (2012). Evaluation of a community-based sex offender treatment program using a Good Lives model approach. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 24, 519-543.

Woodhams, J., Hollin, C.R., Bull, R. & Cooke, C. (2012). Behavior displayed by female victims during rapes committed by lone and multiple perpetrators. Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 18, 415-452.

Tonkin, M., Woodhams, J., Bull, R., & Bond, J.W. (2012). Behavioural case linkage with solved and unsolved crimes. Forensic Science International, 222, 146-153.

Woodhams, J., Cooke, C., Harkins, L. & da Silva, T. (2012). Leadership in multiple perpetrator stranger rape. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27, 728-752.

Woodhams, J., & Labuschagne, G. (2012). A test of case linkage principles with solved and unsolved serial rapes. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 27, 85-98.

Tonkin, M., Woodhams, J., Bull, R., Bond, J.W. & Palmer, E.J. (2011). Linking different types of crimes using geographical and temporal proximity. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 38, 1069-1088.

Charron, A., & Woodhams, J. (2010). A qualitative analysis of mock jurors' deliberations of linkage analysis evidence. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 7, 165-183.

Gunby, C., & Woodhams, J. (2010). Sexually deviant juveniles: Comparisons between the offence and offender characteristics of ‘child abusers’ and ‘peer abusers’. Psychology, Crime and Law, 16, 47-64.

Markson, L., Woodhams, J. & Bond, J. (2010). Linking serial residential burglary: Comparing the utility of modus operandi behaviours, geographical proximity and temporal proximity. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 7, 91-107.

Nelson, A., Woodhams, J. & Hatcher, R. (2010). Female prisoners’ understanding of ‘bullying’ and their methods of coping: A multinational perspective. Psychology, Crime and Law, 16, 649-670.

Tonkin, M., Woodhams, J., Bond, J.W., & Loe, T. (2010). A three-tiered test of geographical profiling with serial auto-vehicle theft. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28, 442-460.

Woodhams, J., & Hatcher, R.M. (2010). Introductory comments to the special issue: Contemporary perspectives on sex offending, its assessment, and treatment. Psychology, Crime and Law, 16, 1-3.


Books and book chapters since 2010

Woodhams, J., & Bennell, C. (2014) (Eds.). Crime linkage: Theory, research and practice. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

Vettor, S., Beech, A.R., & Woodhams, J. (2014). Rapists and sexual murderers: combined pathways to offending.  In J. Proulx, E. Beauregard, P. Lussier, & B. Leclerc (Eds.), Pathways to sexual aggression. Routledge.

Bennell, C., Woodhams, J., & Mugford, R. (2014). Linkage analysis for crime. In G.J.N. Bruinsma & D.L. Weisburd (Eds.), Encyclopaedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (pp. 2947-2953). New York, NY: Springer.

Horvath, M. A. H., & Woodhams, J. (2013). Handbook on the study of multiple perpetrator rape:  A multi-disciplinary response to an international problem. Abingdon, Oxford; Routledge.

Da Silva, T., Harkins, L., & Woodhams, J. (2013).  Multiple perpetrator rape as an international phenomenon.  In M.A.H. Horvath & J. Woodhams (Eds.), Handbook on the study of multiple perpetrator rape: A multi-disciplinary response to an international problem. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge.

Woodhams, J., & Horvath, M.A.H. (2013). Introduction. In M.A.H. Horvath & J. Woodhams (Eds.), Handbook on the study of multiple perpetrator rape: A multi-disciplinary response to an international problem. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge.

Horvath, M.A.H., & Woodhams, J. (2013). The next steps. In M.A.H. Horvath & J. Woodhams (Eds.), Handbook on the study of multiple perpetrator rape: A multi-disciplinary response to an international problem. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge.

Woodhams, J. (2013).  Offender aggression and violence in multiple perpetrator rape. In M.A.H. Horvath & J. Woodhams (Eds.), Handbook on the study of multiple perpetrator rape: A multi-disciplinary response to an international problem. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge.

Vettor, S., Woodhams, J., & Beech, A. R. (2013). Offender profiling: A review and critique of the approaches and major assumptions. In M. H. Pearson (Ed.), Crime: International perspectives, socioeconomic factors and psychological implications. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Woodhams, J. (2012). Offender profiling and crime linkage. In G. Davies & A. Beech (Eds.), Forensic psychology: Crime, justice, law, interventions (pp. 171-188). Chichester, UK: Wiley.

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