A forensic psychologist has been awarded over £500,000 to develop a specialist treatment programme for arsonists. 

Dr Theresa Gannon, a Chartered Forensic Psychologist and Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the University of Kent, has been awarded £563,311 by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for the development, implementation and evaluation of a specialist treatment programme for arsonists.

Each week in England and Wales, it is estimated that arson costs society in excess of £42 million and results in 65 casualties who are either killed or injured (Arson Prevention Bureau, 2009). Dr Gannon will examine the types of male arsonists who exist and their treatment needs and will then develop, implement and evaluate the very first specialised standardised treatment programme for arsonists worldwide.

Dr Gannon said: "I am pleased to have received this award from the ESRC as it will enable me to develop and oversee the very first standardised treatment programme for fire setters internationally. Most importantly, this research will tell us whether or not the new treatment is effective for meeting the needs of arsonists and how we should deal with arsonists in the future so that we can stop them from re-offending."

Professor Richard Crisp, Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Kent, commented: "This award has the potential to make a huge impact on both theory and practice relating to the treatment of fire setters. The size and scope of the project highlights the ambitious, cutting-edge and critically important work being carried out by Dr Gannon and the Forensic Group in the School of Psychology."