Dr Michelle Mattison is an Associate Professor of Forensic Psychology in the Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology. She joined the University of Nottingham in March 2021.
Michelle gained a BSc and MSc in Forensic Psychology from Teesside University. In 2011, she was awarded a PhD scholarship by Lancaster University. Michelle's PhD examined the use of drawing to support episodic memory during police investigative interviews. Her work had a particular focus on children, including both typically developing children and children with autism. While studying for her PhD, Michelle spent several months in Australia conducting research with Professor Martine Powell. The research explored practitioners' perceptions of the use of intermediaries in the criminal justice system.
Between 2014 and 2021, Michelle worked at the University of Chester where she held the post of Associate Professor in the School of Psychology. While working at Chester, Michelle taught across multiple undergraduate and postgraduate psychology programmes, mostly teaching in the areas of forensic psychology, cognitive psychology, and research methods and statistics. Michelle also collaborated on a number of external projects with criminal justice stakeholders. For instance, in 2016, Michelle work with Professor Cooper and partners in New South Wales, Australia. The collaboration involved implementing an intermediary pilot scheme to facilitate communication with child sex offence victims. The work gained national recognition in the UK and was shortlisted as 'International Collaboration of the Year' by the Times Higher Education Awards (2017) and 'International Partnership' by the Educate North Awards (2018). Michelle collaborated with Professor Cooper again between 2019 and 2021 on research funded by the Nuffield Foundation. This project focused on the the production of witness statements by lawyers and litigants in person for the purpose of employment tribunals.
In March 2021, Michelle was awarded the honorary title of Visiting Professor by the University of Chester. Michelle is also an Honorary Reader at the University of Salford, an Honorary Researcher at St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Manchester) and an Associate Researcher with Greater Manchester Police. Michelle collaborates on research projects with these institutions and organisations as part of her honorary roles.
Michelle is a Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist with the British Psychological Society (BPS). In 2018, she was awarded Associate Fellow status with the BPS. This status was given in recognition of her experience and contribution to the field of psychology.
Forensic Practice and Training Delivery
Outside of academia, Michelle works in forensic practice as a Registered Intermediary with the Ministry of Justice and National Crime Agency. Based in the North West, she specialises in working with typically developing children, and also children and adults who have complex communication needs such as autism and learning disability. This role involves facilitating communication with vulnerable victims and witnesses during live police investigations and during criminal trial proceedings. Michelle has worked on a range of cases concerning offences such as harassment, robbery, child sexual exploitation, physical abuse and neglect, sexual assault, rape, and murder.
Since 2014, Michelle has been training practitioners such as the police, barristers and judges. She has worked with organisations such as (i) the National Crime Agency, (ii) the Independent Police Complaints Commission, (iii) the Ministry of Justice, (iv) the Department of Justice (Northern Ireland), (v) Staffordshire Police, (vi) the Metropolitan Police, (vii) Cheshire Constabulary, (viii) West Yorkshire Police, (ix) the Advocacy Training Council, and (x) the Court of Protection.
Michelle contributes the training of officers in Greater Manchester Police, which includes having regular input on the PIP Level 2 Serious and Complex Crime: Advanced Witness Interviewing, and also teaching on the Specialist Child Abuse Investigation Development Programme (SCAIDP). Her training focuses on eyewitness memory and the effects of cognitive development and mental health on communication and evidence gathering with vulnerable victims and witnesses.
Michelle's research interests are in applied cognitive and developmental psychology within forensic settings. For instance:
- Memory development and retrieval processes in children and adults with complex communication needs such as autism and learning disability;
- Techniques to support memory and communication during police investigative interviews and judicial proceedings;
- The effects of trauma and mental health on memory and communication;
- Access to justice for vulnerable victims, witnesses, suspects and defendants;
- The use of intermediaries within justice systems.