Founders, Trustees and Contributors

Lisa Hempenstall

Lisa Hempenstall BA, MA

Having attained an honours degree in Applied Psychology at University College Cork, Lisa Hempenstall completed an MA in Forensic Psychology and is currently finishing a PhD in the domain. Her research focuses on serial violent and sexual offending with a particular interest in abuse between intimate partners and familial members. Currently examining the characteristics and patterns of homicide across Europe and the U.S., Lisa is further exploring the commonalities and linkages between crimes committed in close relationships and community violence.

Lisa is also currently working with data from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) based in Quantico. As a sponsored researcher with the FBI, Lisa is examining effective intervention strategies in hostage / barricade incidents as well as the risk factors and characteristics of cases involving homicide/suicide, sexual violence and abduction as part of the Law Enforcement Negotiation Support network.

Centred upon addressing the needs of individuals who have experienced or continue to endure violence and abuse, Lisa established the Violence & Abuse Prevention Alliance (VAPA).

Most recent publication:

Hempenstall, L. (in press). Intimate partner abuse: Current definitional limitations and potential solutions.


Hempenstall, L. (2008). Preliminary examination of the emotional, behavioural and cognitive characteristics of domestically abusive men. Poster presented at Applied Forensic & Investigative Psychology as a Tool for Law Enforcement Conference, University College Cork.

Recently completed & on-going research

Aisling O'Meara

Aisling O'Meara, BA, MA

Aisling O'Meara first studied Psychology at NUI Maynooth where she obtained her BA degree, following which she completed the MA course in Forensic Psychology at UCC. In 2008 Aisling succeeded in obtaining IRCHSS funding to undertake a research PhD in Forensic Psychology in UCC under the supervision of Dr. Sean Hammond. This research focuses on sadistic personality and derives from Aisling's original undergraduate research in the area of sadism. This research is designed to explore the nature of sadism across a number of possible modalities. The overarching term “sadistic personality” is the primary focus while areas such as sexual sadism, sadistic humour, interest in sadistic spectator sports, and so forth, are characteristics of the broader domain. The aim of this research is to arrive at an understanding of sadism as a continuum growing from relatively benign interests to a more maladaptive, psychopathological disorder. A model of sadistic interest has now been developed and is being utilised throughout the areas presently under investigation.
Aisling's current research on Personality, Fantasy and Humour can be found at

Most recent publications:


Naomi Masheti

Naomi Masheti, BA, MA

Naomi Masheti attained an honours degree in Applied Psychology at UCC, and proceeded to complete an MA in Forensic Psychology. She is currently undertaking a PhD in the Psychological Wellbeing and Psychosocial Adjustment of African Migrant children in Ireland.

Naomi’s Phd research explores lived experiences of African migrant children in Ireland as constructed by the interaction of the child with people around him/her (family, neighbour-hoods, schools, migration institutions' and peer culture). Using Ethnographic and survey methodology methods, the study aims to identify factors that enable this population to thrive and to explore factors that undermine their wellbeing. Focus is on: worries/concerns; individual/community strengths/resilience/support structures; access & barriers to accessing services. The emphasis will be on shifting from a narrow focus on psychological risks, deficits and pathology to a model that incorporates resilience. To this end, individual, family, Cultural and community resources that harness strengths and resilience among this population will be explored. This has the potential to contribute to the development of cultural competency among service providers as it will let us know what needs and kinds of help African children/youth themselves feel they need.

Dissemination of Information: Initial findings of Phase I of the study were presented in the Annual Psychological Society of Ireland Conference in 2009 while initial findings of Phase II were presented in the Annual Psychological Society of Ireland Conference in 2010.


Martina Di Renzo

Martina Di Renzo, BA

Martina Di Renzo Buckley graduated in Applied Psychology, UCC and is currently studying for a PHD with a research on Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Asperger Syndrome and on-line communication, focusing on the construction of on-line identities, both in one-to-one synchronous and asynchronous communication settings and Internet communities. She is also exploring the narrative within blogs and websites authored by people with autism and Asperger Syndrome.

She has a mixed background in IT, language studies, theories on bilingualism and literary criticism. Her research is framed within discursive psychology, with the use of discourse and narrative analysis, and social constructionism. The website for the first stage of the research is


Dr. Sean Hammond

Dr. Sean Hammond BA, MA, PhD

Dr. Hammond joined University College Cork in 2001 and is a senior lecturer in applied psychology. Sean’s background is in psychometrics and assessment particularly in a forensic and clinical setting. He manages a programmatic PhD team in the broad area of Forensic Assessment and has particular interests in implicit measurement, the viability of biosignals in forensic-clinical assessment, idiographic models of change and the statistical modelling of assessed responses. Teaching areas: Developmental Psychopathology, Abnormal Psychology, Research Methods and Data Analysis, Human Sexuality.

Dr. Hammond has worked with police organizations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. For over seven years Dr. Hammond was a senior clinical scientist with the Home Office, Special Hospital Authority, where he was head of the Clinical Decision Making Support Unit of Broadmoor Hospital.

Recently completed related research

Dr. Mike Murphy

Dr. Mike Murphy BSc (Hons), BMedSc, PhD

Dr. Murphy has been a lecturer in Applied Psychology since 2006, and is a member of the Wellbeing & Social Engagement research group. He holds a BSc in Medical Science, and a BSc and PhD in Applied Psychology. His research interests include social engagement, and cognitive performance in older age.

Most recent publications:

Wayne MacSweeney

Wayne McSweeney BA

Wayne graduated from UCC with an honours degree in Applied Psychology. He worked for many years with young men in crisis in Ireland and with homeless men in California USA, with the Interfaith Shelter network; a non-profit group that works with homeless men and women in California. It was here that he first encountered men who had been subjected to intimate partner violence. The issue of men’s experience of intimate partner violence, has for many years been the elephant in the room that many tend to ignore or explain away as “not being a social problem”.

As a PhD researcher, Wayne is currently conducting a three year study of the experience of men who have been subjected to intimate partner violence. The research will track not only the men’s experience of violence but also their mental and physical health, obstacles to contacting or accessing social services and their road to recovery as survivors of intimate partner violence.

The aim of the research is to build a theoretical model of men’s experience of intimate partner violence, that will inform and support those who encounter this issue and to build a framework that will inform social workers, counsellors, psychologists, the legal system and social services about men’s experience.

Intimate partner violence should not be a gender issue, because when it is, a man who is the subject of partner violence can be explained away.
Men who would be interested in taking part in the study can contact Wayne through the website



Sinead Devine

Sinead Devine, B.A, HDipPsychol, DipChildPsychol, MA

Sinead has recently completed working as a research assistant in the School of Applied Psychology in UCC on an IRCHSS funded project: "A study to Investigate Implicit Measurement Techniques within the Risk Assessment of Violent and Sexual Offenders". This Irish prison based research has formed the basis of her present post-graduate investigations. As a PhD researcher Sinead is currently involved in a three-year study that critically evaluates the use of implicit measures on female sexual interest.This study seeks to examine the potential benefit of implicit association paradigms on the assessment of sexual interest in women. The ultimate aim of the work is to inform the forensic assessment of female sexual offenders.

Sinead is also currently tutoring undergraduate psychology students as well as lecturing on Forensic Psychology and Criminal Behaviour courses in University College Cork.

Recently completed & on-going research