Michelle McManus

  • University: University of Liverpool 
  • Collaborating partner: Kent Police
  • Title of PhD project: Qualitative variation in the use of internet child sexual abuse imagery: risk assessment strategies for identifying those at risk of contact abusing

The benefits of working in a collaborative environment on my personal development have been...

Building my confidence to deal with senior practitioners and giving me unique skills to see problems from their point of view. I have been afforded the opportunity to present some of my initial findings across Europe which has dramatically improved my presentation skills and my abilities to work to tight and demanding deadlines.

I also feel that I have a better communication repertoire which I can use to adapt to the environment I am presented with. I have a better self awareness in the management of stressful situations because my subject matter area, whilst rewarding, can be distressing. It has also been invaluable being allowed to use practitioner welfare and supervisory services.

The benefits of working in collaborative environment on my PhD have been...

The benefits are still ongoing, but already they have had practical implications for the partner organisation. The main benefits have been: access to data, which would not normally be available to researchers. And the ability to have practitioner sounding boards to ensure the research remains applied and relevant.

The studentship has enabled me to get the 'real' experience of working within my field, therefore is seen as a desirable factor regardless of whether I apply for policing or academic roles.

Results from my research so far...

I am first author in a book chapter which has recently been published. I am currently coding my main data set and this will result in a series of publications and reports back to my applied setting.  

Dissemination opportunities...

I have been to various conferences in my specialist areas, including a NOTA (National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers) conference in Belfast. I have also attended some of their workshops at other universities. I am planning to go to the ATSA (Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers) annual conference which is the largest conference in my research area. 

Life after my PhD is...

Due to my experience of working with the partner, being introduced to key people within my research field in both an academic and policing context, it has already opened many doors for me. I hope to continue working with the police as a researcher in this specialist area, but I also have experience lecturing which may enable me to apply to academic institutions.

The studentship has enabled me to get the ‘real’ experience of working within my field, therefore is seen as a desirable factor regardless of whether I apply for policing or academic roles.