Youth Pathways into Cybercrime

This white paper by Europol, Middlesex University and UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy was published in October 2016 and draws together existing, recent evidence on online behaviour and associations with criminal and antisocial behaviour amongst young people. Specifically, it was designed to explore the trajectories and pathways that lead to ‘cyber-criminality’ through a series of mixed-methodological endeavours and the integration of theoretical frameworks across criminology and psychology, including cyberpsychology and computer science. Research Leads: Professor Mary Aiken, Professor Julia Davidson & Dr Philipp Amann. Research Manager: Dr Jeffrey De Marco.

EU Child Safety Online

Child Safety Online are an international, multidisciplinary team working across academia, law enforcement and industry in order to advance understanding of online childhood sexual abuse (CSA). This project, titled Developing Research Informed Good Practice Policing and Industry Collaborative Models in Preventing Online Child Abuse and Profiling Child Victims (RIPBM) is funded by the European Commission Directorate-General Home Affairs under the Prevention of and Fight against Crime (ISEC) programme.

This is a multi-centre international project, led by Professor Julia Davidson (Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies, Middlesex University, United Kingdom), with partners Dr Mary Aiken and Dr Carly Cheevers of University College Dublin Geary Institute, Professor Stefan Bogaerts (Tilburg University, The Netherlands), Dr. Angelo Puccia (Institute FDE in Mantua, Italy) and Professor Vincenzo Caretti (LUMSA University Rome, Italy)  Enhancing Police and Industry Practice: EU Child Online Safety Project Davidson, J., DeMarco, J., Bifulco, A., Bogaerts, S., Caretti, V., Aiken, M., Cheevers, C., Corbari, E,. Scally, M., Schilder, J., Schimmenti, A., Puccia, A. (2016)

Cyber Behavioural Escalation

Research project: ‘Forensic CyberPsychology: Identification and Prevention of Cyber Behavioural Escalation in Children’ International study on child safety and protection in cyberspace.

This research initiative centred on the development of investigative cyber-tools to support law enforcement, police and government agencies regarding the protection of minors in an age of technology. Dr Mary Aiken completed this child safety online research project in conjunction with Middlesex University and the INTERPOL Specialists Group for Crimes against Children, it was an international project conducted in partnership with a number of police forces worldwide, including the Garda Síochána, the Australian Federal Police, the Los Angeles Police Department and the London Metropolitan Police. Preliminary results were discussed at the INTERPOL Specialists Group Conference 2014 in Bermuda - selected findings are currently being disseminated (Restricted Report)


As part of EU Safer Internet Day 2013, the CyberPsychology Research Centre provided Webwise, the Safer Internet Ireland Awareness Centre with evidence-based advice for the website combating cyberbullying. We also produced the Be a Cyber Pal campaign for SID 2014.

In addition, a submission was made to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications hearings in March 2013 which was referenced in the final report, Addressing the Growth of Social Media and tackling Cyberbullying.

The aim is to produce  empirically-sound technical and pedagogical solutions to cyberbullying and related problems throughout the lifespan – from cyberbabies to national netiquette guidelines. Issues were discussed at a Public Seminar on “Cyber Crime affecting personal safety, privacy, and reputation, including cyber-bullying.” for the  Law Reform Commission in the President’s Hall, Law Society of Ireland, Dublin. Issues Paper on Cyber-crime affecting personal safety, privacy and reputation including cyber-bullying

Human Trafficking & Technology

Research project: “Tackling Technology Facilitated Human Trafficking” in July 2012 the White House Office for Science and Technology and the Council on Women and Girls convened a workshop “Tech. vs Trafficking” as a result of that process an academic team was formed co-led by Cyberpsychologist Dr Mary Aiken

This ‘big data to big insight’ research involved cyber-behavioural scientific investigation and content-based visual querying methodologies. Using advanced dynamic robust query expansion methodologies, results were obtained that would have been missed by other prevailing techniques. An outcome of the White House Combatting Human Trafficking Initiative is the proposed methodology (isomorphic heuristical problem-solving experience for the illumination of discernible morphologies), which segues to lower ambiguity and an enhanced observational space, and provides valuable insights concerning profiling sophisticated cyber-actors operating in the human trafficking space online. Results have been published:

Aiken, M. P. & Chan S. (2015) Cyber Criminology: Algorithmic vs Heuristical Approaches for Analysis within the Human Trafficking Domain. International Journal of Advancements in Technology.

Cyber Babies

Research review project concerning the literature on the impact of emerging technology on the developing infant - results published 2015:

Haughton, C., Aiken, M. P., & Cheevers, C. (2015). Cyber babies. The impact of emerging technology on the developing child. Psychology Research. 5(9), 504-518. DOI:10.17265/2159-5542/2015.09.002