Dr Gwenda Miriam Willis

PhD, PGDipClinPsyc

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Associate Professor


Gwenda is a Clinical Psychologist with expertise in forensic/correctional psychology research and practice. She joined the School of Psychology at The University of Auckland in 2013, and formed the Advancing Sexual Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Research Group.  Gwen's research and clinical work focuses on strengths-based approaches to addressing criminal behaviour, and sexual abuse prevention.

Gwen is an Editorial Board member for Sexual Abuse, Journal of Sexual Aggression (JSA) and Sexual Offending Theory, Research, and Prevention (SOTRAP). She is a Fellow of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA). Gwen has received numerous awards and accolades for her research, including the 2019 New Zealand Psychological Society Hunter Award. Gwen currently holds a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, leading a programme of research into protective factors against sexual offending and reoffending.

Research | Current

  • The Good Lives Model (GLM) of rehabilitation, including is practical application and empirical research. Gwen provides consultancy and training to clinicians and criminal justice agencies around the world on the application of the GLM in various settings. She is currently working on the development of GLM-derived assessment tools.
  • Conceptualising and assessing protective factors against offending, including development and validation of the Structured Assessment of PROtective Factors against Sexual Offending (SAPROF-SO).
  • Community re-entry and reintegration
  • Desistance from sexual offending
  • Adverse childhood experiences and their relationship to offending behaviour
  • Public attitudes towards individuals convicted of sexual offences
  • Sexual abuse prevention, including reaching individuals at risk of sexual offending and preventing first-time perpetration of sexual abuse  

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Willis, G. M. (2018). Why call someone by what we don't want them to be? The ethics of labeling in forensic/correctional psychology. Psychology, Crime & Law, 24 (7), 727-743. 10.1080/1068316X.2017.1421640
  • Levenson, J. S., Willis, G. M., & Prescott, D. S. (2017). Trauma-informed care: Transforming treatment for people who have sexually abused. Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.
  • Levenson, J. S., Willis, G. M., & Prescott, D. S. (2016). Adverse childhood experiences in the lives of male sex offenders: Implications for trauma-informed care. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment, 28 (4), 340-359. 10.1177/1079063214535819
  • Willis, G. M., Ward, T., & Levenson, J. S. (2014). The Good Lives Model (GLM): An Evaluation of GLM Operationalization in North American Treatment Programs. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment, 26 (1), 58-81. 10.1177/1079063213478202
  • Willis, G. M., Yates, P. M., Gannon, T. A., & Ward, T. (2013). How to Integrate the Good Lives Model Into Treatment Programs for Sexual Offending: An Introduction and Overview. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment, 25 (2), 123-142. 10.1177/1079063212452618
  • Scoones, C. D., Willis, G. M., & Grace, R. C. (2012). Beyond Static and Dynamic Risk Factors: The Incremental Validity of Release Planning for Predicting Sex Offender Recidivism. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27 (2), 222-238. 10.1177/0886260511416472


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 2, Room 259
New Zealand

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