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Crisis Centre

Leigh Harkins

Associate Professor

Graduate Program Director, Forensic Psychology

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Contact information

2 Simcoe Street - Room 624
Downtown Oshawa
2000 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4

905.721.8668 ext. 5991


Dr. Leigh Harkins received a PhD in Forensic Psychology from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. She completed her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology degree and Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto in Ontario. Before returning to Canada in 2013, she taught for four years at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Harkins also has experience working in forensic practice settings in the U.K. and Canada. This has included experience working with sex offender groups at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and with the Correctional Service of Canada. She has also been involved in offender assessment work in the U.K.


  • MA, Counselling Psychology University of Toronto
  • PhD, Forensic Psychology University of Birmingham

Courses taught

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Treatment in Forensic Settings
  • Special Topics: Sex Offenders
  • Forensic Assessment

Research and expertise

Research background and interests:

  • aggression in groups
  • offender rehabilitation
  • sexual aggression

Research supervision areas:

  • group aggression
  • perceptions of sexual aggression
  • sex offender treatment effectiveness

Research area of specialty:

  • aggression in groups
  • offender rehabilitation
  • sexual aggression
  • Anthony Beech
  • Louise Dixon
  • Jessica Woodhams
  • Alasdair Goodwill
  • Jeffrey Abracen
  • Calvin Langton


  • Selected publications

    Niebieszczanski, R., Harkins, L., Judson, J., Smith, K., & Dixon, L. (in press). The role of moral disengagement in street gang offending. Psychology, Crime, and Law.

    Da Silva, T., Woodhams, W., & Harkins, L (in press). Multiple perpetrator rape: A critical review of existing explanatory theories. Aggression and Violent Behavior.

    Jones, E., Harkins, L., & Beech, A.R. (in press). The development of a new risk model: The Threat Matrix. Legal and Criminological Psychology.

    Tew, J., Harkins, L., & Dixon, L. (in press). Assessing the validity of the Self Report Psychopathy Scale in a UK offender population. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology.

    Harkins, L., Howard, P., Barnett, G., Wakeling, H., & Miles, C. (2015). Relationships between denial, risk, and recidivism in sexual offenders. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 157-166.

    Da Silva, T., Woodhams, J. & Harkins, L. (2014). Heterogeneity within multiple perpetrator rapes: A national comparison of lone, duo and 3+ perpetrator rapes. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 26, 503-522.

    Kloess, J.A., Beech, A.R., & Harkins, L. (2014). Online Child Sexual Exploitation: Prevalence, Process, Offender Characteristics. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 15, 126-139.

    Harkins, L., Beech, A.R., & Thornton, D. (2013). The influence of risk and psychopathy on the therapeutic climate in sex offender treatment. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 25, 103-122.