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Childhood trauma and related mental health outcomes in an offender population


Project title

Childhood trauma and related mental health outcomes in an offender population

Anders Aaby

Project manager

Áine Travers

Project description

Childhood trauma is a risk factor for a variety of adverse outcomes, including physical and mental illness, and perpetration of violent crime. However, not all of those traumatised as children engage in violence in later life. The pathway from victim to perpetrator is complex, and influenced by a range of factors.

This project partners with the PBNI to assess trauma among Northern Irish perpetrators of child-directed and gender-based violence. Northern Ireland is a region with a very high rate of trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder. Since the Peace Agreement of 1998, mental health problems and suicide rates in Northern Ireland have increased, as have rates of domestic and sexual violence. This project will investigate how trauma, including that related to the political conflict, might influence perpetration of domestic violence in the region.


  • Construct a database of trauma exposures among domestic offenders in Northern Ireland;
  • Identify effects of childhood trauma, including risk/protective factors for future offending behaviour and recidivism;
  • Produce recommendations on how to apply this information to reduce recidivism

PBNI case file data will be analysed to ascertain whether associations exist between particular patterns of trauma exposure, mental health presentations, and serious forms of domestic crime.

Recommendations on improving interventions for perpetrators of child-directed and gender-based violence will be produced.

The project is carried out under

THRIVE Research Group

Start date and expected end date

01.03.2017 – 29.02.2020

Main supervisor

Maj Hansen, Associate Professor, Institut for Psykologi, SDU


Cherie Armour, Ulster University;
Geraldine O'Hare, PBNI


Probation Board of Northern Ireland (PBNI)


European Commission Horizon 2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


Trauma, mental health, offending, gender-based violence

Last Updated 10.04.2024