As part of a public psychiatric hospital in Canada's largest province, members of the Research Department study the prevention, prediction, and explanation of human violence and aggression. Our research samples include mentally disordered offenders, sex offenders, psychopaths, criminal and violent offenders, high school students, psychiatric clients, and adults from different communities.
1. Click here to learn more about our work on violence risk assessment (The Violence Risk Appraisal Guide and the Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide). Our book, Violent Offenders: Appraising and Managing Risk, was published by the American Psychological Association. The authors are Vernon Quinsey, Grant Harris, Marnie Rice, and Catherine Cormier. Its second edition was published in 2006.
2. Our book, Risk Assessment for Domestically Violent Men: Tools for Criminal Justice, Offender Intervention, and Victim Services has been published by the American Psychological Association. The authors are Zoe Hilton, Grant Harris, and Marnie Rice. The book received a Significant Achievement Award from the criminal justice section of the Canadian Psychological Association.
3. Our Wife Assault Recidivism Risk Appraisal Project was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The research project, headed by Dr. Zoe Hilton, is a partnership between our Research team and the Behavioural Sciences Section of the Ontario Provincial Police. The principal results are the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) and Domestic Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (DVRAG), actuarial assessments that evaluate the likelihood a man will assault his partner again, and how his risk compares with that of other wife assaulters. The ODARA and DVRAG also predict the speed, severity and number of recidivistic offenses. Click here for more information.
4. Check out our Research Activities, Bibliography, Recent Presentations, or Brief Articles about our work.
5. Our book, The Causes of Rape: Understanding Individual Differences in Male Propensity for Sexual Aggression has been published by the American Psychological Association. The authors are Martin Lalumière, Grant Harris, Vern Quinsey, and Marnie Rice. Click here to see a review of the book.
6. Our Team won the Amethyst Award for Outstanding Achievement by Ontario Public Servants.
7. Upon her retirement as Director, the members of the Research Department named Marnie Rice Director of Research Emerita. Dr. Rice was also recently inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Parallel academies include the Royal Society of London and the US National Academy of Science. Fellowship in the Royal Society is the highest academic accolade available to scientists and scholars in Canada. For more information, check the Society's media release.
Our Research Department was established in 1975. The founder and first Director was Dr. Vernon Quinsey, who left in 1988 to become Professor of Psychology at Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario. From 1988 to 2002, our Director was Dr. Marnie Rice who continues her research work part-time. Dr. Grant Harris has been the Director of Research since 2002.
Our research is often undertaken in partnership or collaboration with colleagues at several other forensic psychiatric institutions, universities, and government ministries and agencies.
Since its inception, our team has concentrated on the scientific study of aggressive and high-risk behavior. In so doing, we conduct quantitative research; publish in the peer-reviewed literature; acquire peer-reviewed grants and other external research funds; hold formal university affiliations and academic appointments; maintain external partnerships with university and government collaborators; host and assist graduate student researchers; provide internal and external education, training, and technical support; hosted an internationally renowned scientific conference; lead evidence-based practice at our facility; and support the institution's Research Ethics Board.
Our scientific work has concerned the following research topics (listed in approximate order of numbers of publications):
Prediction of Violence and Violent Recidivism. What personal characteristics reduce uncertainty about which patients or offenders will commit new violent offenses? What are the best ways to assess the risk of violence in mentally disordered offenders, psychiatric patients, wife assaulters, and offenders in general?
Sex Offenders. Why do some men sexually assault women and children? Where do sexual interests in such deviant activities come from? What interventions could stop such men from repeating their offenses? What is the best way to assess deviant sexual preferences?
Psychopathy. Psychopaths are callous, manipulative, selfish, dishonest, and are responsible for much crime and violence. What is the nature of psychopathy? What causes psychopathy? What could be done to limit the harm caused by psychopaths?
Treatment of Mentally Disordered Offenders. What is the best way to organize mental health systems for forensic patients? What are the treatment needs of mentally disordered offenders?
Violence and Teenagers. How common is violence in the lives of high school students? Which students are at risk for committing and being the victim of violence and aggression? How do students perceive such violence and what could be done to reduce violence in the lives of adolescents?
Violence in Institutions. Which residents of institutions are prone to violence? What conditions provoke violent behavior? What conditions and programs can reduce violence in institutions? What kinds of training can help staff anticipate, prevent and safely control violence?
Firesetters. Why do some people set (not for profit) fires? What interventions could stop them from repeating their offenses?
In addition to support from our institution's administration, we have received external research grant funding most often from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to pursue our work.