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Meet the Expert Lunch for Student Members with Corine de Ruiter, Michelle Mattison and Taina Laajasalo


August 25, 12:00-12:50 CEST


Corine de Ruiter is a professor of Forensic psychology at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on the relationship between mental disorders and violence and the structured assessment of risk for future violence, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence and child abuse. The scientist-practitioner model is central to her career: her key objective is to improve mental health services using evidence based assessment and treatment methods. Dr. de Ruiter had her research published in national and international peer reviewed journals. She was President of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services (www.iafmhs.org) from 2011 to 2013. She served as an Associate Editor (2009-2014) of the International Journal of Forensic Mental Health. She published Forensic Psychological Assessment in Practice (Taylor & Francis, 2015) together with Nancy Kaser-Boyd. At present, she is Associate Editor of the Journal of Personality Assessment and Chief Specialty Editor of Frontiers in Psychology: Forensic and Legal Psychology.

Dr. de Ruiter has conducted numerous workshops in The Netherlands and abroad on forensic (risk) assessment and treatment planning. She often serves as an expert witness in criminal court cases on psycholegal issues including the relationship between mental disorder and offending behavior, criminal responsibility, risk of future violence, and required level of supervision and treatment.

Dr Michelle Mattison is an Associate Professor of Forensic Psychology in the Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology (University of Nottingham, UK). Here, she supports the learning and research of trainee forensic psychologists who are working towards masters and doctoral qualifications. Michelle’s own research focuses upon vulnerability in criminal justice settings, specifically with regard to gathering and testing eyewitness evidence. Michelle is a Visiting Professor at the University of Chester, 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 also a Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist with the British Psychological Society. Outside of academia, she works in forensic practice as a Registered Intermediary with the Ministry of Justice and National Crime Agency. 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. She specialises in working with typically developing children, and also children and adults who have complex communication needs such as autism and learning disability.
Taina Laajasalo, PhD, is an Adjunct Professor in Forensic Psychology at the University of Helsinki (Finland). Her most recent research activities relate to child and adolescent behavioral disorders, youth crime and investigations of child and adolescent abuse. She is the co-ordinator of the Forensic Psychology course at the University of Helsinki, teaching both psychology students and students at the Faculty of Law. She is a member of several advisory panels and gives consultations in matters related to forensic psychology and crime prevention as well as dissemination of evidence-based practices and knowledge-based policy making more generally. 
In the past, she worked for several years in a multidisciplinary team, giving expert assistance and testimony and consulting the police and the judicial system in investigations of child sexual and physical abuse. At present Taina works as a Chief Specialist at the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare aiming to develop child-friendly, evidence-based justice procedures as well as interventions and services for children who have experienced violence (Barnahus-project). 
While combining the different perspectives and professional roles is not always easy, Dr Laajasalo believes that careers integrating research and practice can be personally rewarding, and are also important in formulating central research questions and addressing the needs of the field.