UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science


Prof Richard Wortley

Professor of Crime Science

Dept of Security and Crime Science

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
1st Aug 2010

Research summary

My research interests centre on the role that immediate environments play in behaviour, especially in criminal, corrupt, and antisocial acts. I have been involved in numerous funded projects in areas including violence in licensed premises, official misconduct in prison, whistleblowing in the public sector, child sexual abuse, the occupational health effects for investigators of Internet child exploitation, Australian Aboriginal imprisonment, and intimate partner homicide. I have contributed to theoretical developments of situational crime prevention, especially the development of the concept of 'crime precipitators'.  With my colleague Professor Stephen Smallbone, I pioneered the application of situational crime prevention strategies to problem of child sexual abuse and the related problem of Internet child pornography.

Recent funded projects include: 

2015-17 $A299k: Automated Internet warnings to prevent viewing of minor-adult images. Australian Research Grants Discovery. (Partner-investigator)

2015-18 €1,881,402: Tackle Insecurity in Marginalised Areas (MARGIN). Horizon 2020. (PI for UCL). 

2013-16 $A2,278,182: Evidence-informed prevention of youth-perpetrated sexual violence and abuse: ‘Realist’ implementation and evaluation at two sites. Australian Attorney General’s Department, Indigenous Justice Program. (Co-I) 

2013-2015 $A379,500: What works, what doesn’t, what is promising for preventing sexual violence and abuse: The effectiveness of situational prevention. Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (Co-I). 

Teaching summary

I have taught a wide range of course both in on campus mode and in distance education, and at both undergraduate and post graduate level. I have developed and taught courses in corrections, the psychology of crime, forensic psychology, and crime prevention. I currently teach the module 'Foundations of Security and Crime Science'.


I have a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in psychology. I began my career in 1976 as a practicing psychologist in the New South Wales (Australia) prison system. I stayed in that role for ten years, working in maximum and minimal security prisons and male and female prisons. I am a former national chair of the Australian Psychological Society's College of Forensic Psychologists. I have been a university academic since 1985, working in psychology and criminology departments in Australia (most recently Griffith University) before joining University College London in August 2010 as Director of the Jill Dando Institute and the Head of the Department of Security and Crime Science.