Professors and Lecturers

Dr Bianca Spaccavento

BSc (Hons – Psychology), Dip Correctional Administration, DPsych (Forensic)

Lecturer
Port Macquarie
Building 802 Mid Wing

Graduating from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) with a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) in 1998, Bianca is a registered forensic psychologist, currently practicing as a consultant to government agencies and supervisor of registrar forensic psychologists. She previously practiced for 17 years in the correctional industry, specialising in work with people experiencing severe and complex psychological dysfunction including resistant, challenging, dangerous, or other antisocial behaviours within higher security environments of the criminal justice system. She developed particular expertise in the areas of prison gangs, terrorism, and high-risk-offender community reintegration. During this time she completed her Doctor of Psychology (Forensic) at Charles Sturt in 2012, conducting research into the relationship between re-offending and cognitive inflexibility.

In later leadership roles as Principal Psychologist and then Director of Services with Corrective Services NSW, Bianca developed a passion for sound clinical governance of ethical and professional issues in correctional and forensic psychology and other areas of human service delivery in the correctional environment. As such, she is currently involved in regulatory activity within the profession as a Professional Member of the Psychology Council of NSW. Also an accredited supervisor with the Psychology Board of Australia, her attention turned more recently to broader contributions to the profession through academic activity and engagement with emerging psychologists, prompting a career change to academia.

Since joining Charles Sturt on the Port Macquarie campus in 2019, Bianca has focused on developing and teaching subjects relevant to both the professional practice of psychology and the application of psychology in forensic areas. She also supervises Honours, Clinical Masters and PhD student research projects in the broad area of forensic psychology. She is passionate about building the psychological workforce capacity in rural and regional areas of Australia, particularly with regards to enhancing forensic expertise - to this end, she maintains and leverages networks within both the public and private sector to enhance access to forensically-oriented student placement and graduate employment opportunities for students of the School of Psychology, also collaborating with the School of Social Work and the Centre for Law and Justice to enhance broader student opportunities in forensic areas. Bianca is always looking forward to further opportunities for teaching, professional engagement, and research activities in both foundational and specific areas of forensic psychology.

Teaching

Bianca's teaching spans the current undergraduate and honours-level subjects of:

  • Developmental and Social Psychology
  • Psychology of Personality
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Psychology and the Legal System
  • Psychological Interventions

With fond memories, Bianca also used to teach Forensic Psychology when it was offered at Charles Sturt!

Research

Bianca maintains an interest in any research in the broad forensic psychology area and is a member of the School of Psychology Resilience Across the Lifespan research group, the Centre for Law and Justice Law, Justice and Resilience research group, and the BJBS Home Affairs, Policing, and Security Science research group.

Bianca is currently working on a research project in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to assist investigation of ‘no-body homicides’. She has recently supervised student research projects exploring community attitudes towards criminal justice processes, First Nations peoples’ experiences of offender programs in NSW, protective factors against re-offending for sex offenders, and maladaptive schemas in experiences of trauma.

In addition to these areas, her interests include the genesis of and systemic response to a range of offending behaviours within society, the psychology of recidivism and desistance, the measurement and prediction of behavioural threat and risk, and the fit between people and high security environments. She is also interested in the interpretation and application of specific ethical principles amongst practitioners of forensic psychology.

Professional Memberships

Bianca is a registered psychologist, with endorsement in the forensic area of practice with the Psychology Board of Australia, where she is also an accredited supervisor for all supervision categories.

She is a fellow of the APS College of Forensic Psychologists, where she currently serves on the NSW state committee.

She is also a member of the Australia and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (ANZAPPL) and was, until her departure from the NSW public service, a member of the Institute for Public Administration Australia (IPAA).

Selected Publications

Publications

Spaccavento, B., Dowel, N. & Quilkey, C. (2008). Custody and sentence planning – a throughcare model for ‘AA’ (terrorist) inmates. Australasian Journal of Correctional Staff Development, Vol 3(1).

Conference Presentations

Spaccavento, B. (2008).Is Re-Offending Related to Cognitive Inflexibility? Australia & New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology & Law (ANZPPL) annual conference, ‘Risks vs Rights’, Manly, October 2008.

Spaccavento, B. & Hart, R. (2008). Keeping Offenders a Hair’s Breadth Out From Custody – A New Use of Psychology in Community Correctional Settings. Australia & New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology & Law (ANZPPL) annual conference, ‘Risks vs Rights’, Manly, October 2008.

Hart, R & Spaccavento, B. (2009). Consultation from Within: Profiling and Compliance Monitoring of Offenders in Community Settings – A New Use of Forensic Psychology. APS College of Forensic Psychologists biennial conference, ‘Advancing Forensic Psychology’ Melbourne, February 2009.

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