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Rebecca Lievesley

Rebecca Lievesley

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr Rebecca Lievesley is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology, and Course Leader for the MSc Forensic Psychology.

Rebecca teaches on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate psychology modules, including:

  • Mixed Methods (Module Leader)
  • The Psychology of Sexual Offending (Module Leader)
  • Psychopathology and Offending Behaviour (Module Leader)
  • Research methods
  • Studies in Legal Psychology
  • Professional Forensic Practice

Additionally, Rebecca supervises both undergraduate and postgraduate research projects, as well as a number of Doctoral students (PhD and DPsych).

Career overview

Rebecca began her career in this field in 2010, working as a Research Assistant and then Research Fellow for the Sexual Offences Crime and Misconduct (SOCAMRU) Unit at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). During this time she began a part-time PhD, before securing a lecturing position at NTU in 2015.

Research areas

Rebecca’s early research projects were largely focussed on working with convicted populations due to her work with SOCAMRU. This included exploring the role of religion in individuals convicted of a sexual offence, and exploring different aspects of reoffending, rehabilitation, resettlement and desistance in offending populations (e.g. sexual, short sentenced). Rebecca’s PhD was also in this area, forming part of the national evaluation for the medication to manage problematic sexual arousal treatment service, for individuals convicted of a sexual offence.

While Rebecca still conducts research with a range of convicted populations, her interests are much broader, with her ongoing research divided into two main strands:

1. Minor attracted persons (MAPs), wellbeing, and sexual abuse prevention – in this work Rebecca has developed a wide-ranging research programme that seeks to better understand the concept of minor attraction (defined as sexual attractions to pubescent or pre-pubescent children). Rebecca adopts a mixed-methods approach to this work and conducts interview-based qualitative work alongside quantitative surveys to explore the experiences of minor attraction and its links to behaviour. She has also developed work into professional attitudes and experiences of working with this group in a bid to inform more effective treatment options for MAPs.

2. Sex dolls – in recent years Rebecca has developed an interest in understanding the psychological motivations behind sex doll ownership, and the links between dolls and behaviour. In this work she seeks to explore the realities of doll ownership in order to inform more evidence-based approaches to discussing doll ownership, and to consider alternatives to legislative doll bans.

External activity

Rebecca is a co-founder (and former trustee) of the Safer Living Foundation, a multi award winning charity established in 2014 to provide initiatives that aim to prevent further victims of sexual crime.

Rebecca has also undertaken a range of consultancy projects with external organisations. These include exploring the racist incident reporting procedures within a prison establishment, as well as developing and delivering a staff training package on problematic sexual arousal and its treatment for HMPPS.

Rebecca is also involved in various national and international collaborations (outlined below).

Sponsors and collaborators

Rebecca has received external research funding from multiple sources including: National Organisation for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (NOTA), Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and NHS England.

Through her various roles, Rebecca has worked / collaborated with:

  • Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS)
  • Various prison establishments including: HMP Whatton, HMP Nottingham, HMP Grendon
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Rampton Secure Hospital
  • Police and Probation – Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire
  • NHS England
  • Various charities including: Circles UK (and other local Circles providers), Rethink Mental Illness, NOTA, NSPCC, The Lucy Faithful Foundation
  • External academic collaborators include: Helen Swaby (Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln), Gilian Tenbergen (State University of New York)

Press expertise

Rebecca can comment on a range of topics in forensic psychology including:

  • Paedophilia / minor attraction
  • Sex dolls
  • Problematic sexual arousal (e.g. sexual preoccupation, hypersexuality)
  • Medication to manage problematic sexual arousal
  • Sexual offending
  • Prevention of sexual offending
  • Rehabilitation and resettlement of individuals convicted of sexual crimes
  • Crime desistance