Dr Zoe Stephenson MSc, PhD

Dr Zoe Stephenson

School of Psychology
Assistant Professor in Forensic Psychology

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Stephenson is a lecturer in Forensic Psychology for the Forensic Psychology Practice Doctorate (ForenPsyD) and the Continued Professional Development (CPD) programmes. Her research projects have focused on female offending, the rehabilitation of violent and sex offenders in the UK, youth offending, alternatives to accredited treatment programmes (e.g. applied theatre), and alternatives to imprisonment.


PhD (Birmingham), ‘Treatment of offenders: The delivery and sequencing of interventions’

M.Sc. Forensic Psychology (Gloucestershire)

B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology with Sociological Studies (Gloucestershire)


Zoe has worked in academia for the last six years in capacities such as Psychology lecturer (BSc Psychology), Course Leader (BSc Psychology), Lecturer (MSc Forensic Psychology), Instructor (Forensic Psychology), and has been in the role of Lecturer in Forensic Psychology for the last year at the University of Birmingham. 

She has conducted research in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on the topic of the sequencing of interventions with offenders.  She has also recently conducted analyses for the Council of Europe into alternatives to imprisonment. 


Zoe currently lectures on the doctorate programme on the topics of research methods, training provision in forensic settings and qualitative analysis.  She supervises a number of Forensic Doctorate and CPD trainees and provides additional one to one support for UG and PG students.

In line with her research interests, she guest lectures on the topics of female offending and managing offenders in the community.


Rehabilitation with sexual and violent offenders
Interventions used in prison or the community aimed to reduce the likelihood of an offender committing further crimes following their sentence. In addition to the content of the intervention (e.g., thinking skills, literacy skills, anger management) it is also necessary to consider the delivery of interventions such as timing (i.e., is an offender motivated to change?) and sequencing (i.e., should an offender take part in interventions in a particular order?).

Female offending
Although female crime rates are still lower than those of their male counterparts for the majority of crimes, it is thought that female crime may be on the rise. The need to consider gender specific risk factors for offending has been recognised with the aim of developing gender specific interventions to reduce rates of re-offending.


Recent publications


Cajada, L, Stephenson, Z & Bishopp, D 2024, 'Protective and Enabling Factors That Facilitate Undercover Police Work: A Qualitative Study', Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-024-09646-1

Stephenson, Z, Jackson, A & Wilkes, V 2023, 'Student experiences of the ‘closed-door’ PhD and doctorate level viva voce: a systematic review of the literature', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2023.2282941

Stephenson, Z & Watson MBE, A 2018, 'Scratching the Surface: A service evaluation of an applied theatre intervention for female offenders', Prison Service Journal, vol. 239, pp. 16-21.

Stephenson, Z, Woodhams, J & Harkins, L 2018, 'The sequencing of interventions with offenders: views of offender managers and supervisors', British Journal of Forensic Practice. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-02-2018-0003

Cooke, E, Stephenson, Z & Rose, J 2017, 'How do professionals experience working with offenders diagnosed with personality disorder within a prison environment?', The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/14789949.2017.1331371

Stephenson, Z, Woodhams, J & Harkins, L 2017, 'The sequencing and delivery of interventions: Views of Imprisoned for Public Protection (IPP) prisoners in the UK', Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 275-294. https://doi.org/10.1080/24732850.2017.1356697

Stephenson, Z, Woodhams, J & Cooke, C 2014, 'Sex differences in predictors of violent and non-violent juvenile offending', Aggressive Behavior, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 165-177. https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.21506

Stephenson, Z, Harkins, L & Woodhams, J 2013, 'The sequencing of interventions with offenders: An addition to the responsivity principle', Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 429-455. https://doi.org/10.1080/15228932.2013.850318

Literature review

Tarpey, E, Stephenson, Z & Barker, R 2023, 'Risk formulation in forensic practice: a review of the evidence', British Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 243-262. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-12-2022-0064

Review article

McMinn, LE, Kloess, JA & Stephenson, Z 2024, 'Empowering Young People with Special Educational Needs to Recognize and Report Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: A Mixed-Methods Review', Trauma, Violence and Abuse, pp. 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1177/15248380231217047

Dias Cajada, L, Stephenson, Z & Bishopp, D 2023, 'Exploring the Psychometric Properties of the Resilience Scale', Adversity and Resilience Science, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 245-257. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42844-023-00102-3

Tonks, S & Stephenson, Z 2019, 'Critique of the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles', International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, vol. 64, no. 9, pp. 903-921.

Tonks, S & Stephenson, Z 2018, 'Disengagement from street gangs: a systematic review of the literature', Psychiatry Psychology and Law, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 21-49.

View all publications in research portal