Dr Larissa (Lara) Christensen

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Dr Larissa (Lara) Christensen


Lecturer in Criminology and Justice

+61 7 5430 1219
Office location
JG.03E, Building J, USC Sunshine Coast
Dr Larissa (Lara) Christensen


Dr Lara Christensen, Program Coordinator of the Bachelor of Criminology and Justice Degree, holds a primary research interest in the prevention of sexual violence. With a PhD in Psychology (field of research: forensic psychology), she is co-leader of the first University-led Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit (SVRPU) in Australia.

Lara has a strong, knowledge base pertaining to child sexual offending, including female child sexual offenders, the attrition of child sexual abuse, 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, including the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Child Abuse and Neglect, and Sexuality and Culture.

Lara aims to motivate and inspire her students, through her passionate, energetic, personable and respectful nature. 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 Master of Criminology and Justice 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, which recognises 'approaches to teaching and the support of learning that influence, motivate, and inspire students to learn'. Her success was continued in 2018, when Lara was awarded a USC Advance Award in recognition of an 'outstanding practice in learning and teaching, and student support and engagement'. Most recently, her teaching team was awarded the Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.

Lara is the Treasurer of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology and the Editorial Board Member on the peer-reviewed journal, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. Lara is currently working on a number of joint innovative projects with colleagues and other key stakeholders, including Queensland Corrective Services. Lara also supervises honours (Psychology) and PhD (Criminology) students.


  • Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, University of the Sunshine Coast,2019
  • Advanced Award for Quality Teaching, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2018
  • 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

  • 2019-present: Daniel Morcombe Foundation Committee Member
  • 2018 - present: Treasurer, Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology
  • 2018 - present: Editorial Board Member of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
  • 2018 - present: Australian Research Council (ARC) Peer Review Assessor, Australia
  • 2017 - present: Bravehearts research panel, Australia

Research grants

Grant/Project name


Funding body and A$ value



Focus (of research grant)

Queensland Police Service

Christensen, Rayment-McHugh, McKillop 



'What Works' in Policing: Managing Child Sex Offenders in the Community

Australian Institute of Criminology

Rayment-McHugh, Christensen (co-leaders), McKillop, Moritz, Burton, Munro, Jones, Prenzler & Lacey, in partnership with Queensland Police Service



'LEADing evidence-informed Child Exploitation Material (CEM) Reduction'

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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