Dr Larissa (Lara) Christensen

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Dr Larissa (Lara) Christensen


Lecturer in Criminology and Justice

+61 7 5430 1219
Office location
J-5.09, Building J, USC Sunshine Coast
Dr Larissa (Lara) Christensen


Dr Lara Christensen’s primary research interest is sexual violence. Her PhD (Psychology, field of research: Forensic Psychology) focused on the attrition of child sexual abuse cases from the criminal justice process. This is an important issue as child sexual abuse cases hold the lowest conviction rates of all crimes against the person in Australia.

Overall, Lara has a broad, yet strong, knowledge base pertaining to child sexual offending, including the grooming process, cognitive distortions, crime scripts, online child predators, and victimology. Her knowledge also encompasses the policing, courts, and corrections of child sexual offenders. You will find her research published in a number of prominent international journals. She is also currently conducting research on female child sexual offenders.

Prior to being appointed at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2018, Lara was a Lecturer in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University, Gold Coast. During this time, she taught first-year students right through to Masters students. Lara was the recipient of multiple Teaching awards on an annual basis, which recognise excellence in the provision of engaging learning for students. Prior to leaving Griffith University, she was awarded a 2017 Vice Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award. Lara has the ability to motivate and inspire her students, through her passionate, energetic, and respectful nature.

In addition to her research and teaching, she is currently working on a number of joint innovative projects with colleagues and other key stakeholders, including the Queensland Police Service.


  • Vice Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award, Griffith University, 2017
  • Dean's Teaching Commendation, Griffith University, 2017 (Masters course)
  • Dean's Teaching Commendation, Griffith University, 2017 (First-year course)
  • Dean's Teaching Commendation, Griffith University, 2016
  • Sessional Staff Award, High Commendation, Griffith University, 2013
  • Dean's Commendation Award: Research Methods, University of Queensland, 2011
  • Dean's Commendation Award: Evidence-Based Practice, University of Queensland, 2011

Board and Committee appointments

  • 2018 - present: Australian Research Council (ARC) Peer Review Assessor, Australia
  • 2017 - present: Bravehearts research panel, Australia
  • 2016 - present: Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC), Australia

Research grants

Grant/Project name


Funding body and A$ value



Focus (of research grant)

Queensland Corrective Services Research Grant Scheme

Nadine McKillop; Susan Rayment-McHugh, Lara Christensen; Tim Prenzler


2018 - 2019

The effectiveness of sexual and violent offender rehabilitation and reintegration programs: Integrating global and local perspectives to enhance correctional outcomes

Exploring Synchronous Online Tutorials Using Zoom Technology to Engage Students Unable to Attend Face-to-Face Tutorials

Cindy Davis (PI)

University of the Sunshine Coast

2018 -2019

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