Dr Liz Spruin


Recent Publications:

Spruin, E., Dempster, T., Islam, S., & Raybould, I. (in press). The effects of a therapy dog vs mindfulness vs a student advisor on student anxiety and well-being: A randomised control study.

Spruin, E., Dempster, T., & Mozova, K. (2020). Facility dogs as a tool for building rapport and credibility with child witnesses. International Journal of Law, Crime, and Justice. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlcj.2020.100407.

Spruin, E., Mozova, K., Dempster, T., & Freeman, R. (2020). The use of facility dogs to bridge the justice gap for survivors of sexual offending. Social Sciences, 9(6), 96. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9060096.

Spruin, E., Mozova, K., Dempster, T., & Mitchell, S. (2019). Exploring the impact of specially trained dogs on the court experiences of sexual offence survivors in England and Wales: An exploratory case study. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10610-019-09419-1.

Spruin, E., Mozova, K., Franz, A., Mitchell, S., Ferdandez, A., Dempster, T., & Holt, N. (2019). The use of therapy dogs to support court users in the waiting room. International Criminal Justice Review, 29(3), 284-303. https://doi.org/10.1177/1057567719827063.

Spruin, E., & Mozova, K. (2018). Dogs in the criminal justice system: consideration of facility and therapy dogs. Pet Behaviour Science, 5, 1-12.

Spruin, E., & Mozova, K. (2018). Specially trained dogs in the UK criminal justice system. Seen and Heard, 28, 63-67.

Islam, S., Spruin, E., & Fernandez, A. (2017). The benefits of therapy dogs on student wellbeing within a UK university. Psychology and Behavioural Science International Journal, 7(1), 555702. https://doi.org/10.19080/PBSIJ.2017.07.555702.

Spruin, E., & Mozava, K. (September, 2017) Using specially trained dogs in the Criminal Justice System. BPS Forensic Update, issue 125, 39-42.

Spruin, E., Wood, J., Gannon, T., & Tyler, N. (2017). Sexual offender’s experiences of polygraph testing: A thematic study in three probation trusts. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 3, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/13552600.2017.1378025.

Spruin, E., & Coulston, B. (2017). The emotional experience of mentally disordered offenders: An exploratory study. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 17, 79-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/15228932.2014.965987.

Spruin, E., Abbott, N., & Holt, N. (2017). Examining the experiences of a short break scheme amongst adolescents with disabilities (service users) and their parents. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 64, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/1034912X.2017.1348599.

Spruin, E., Alleyne, E., Baker, R., Papadki, I., & Franz, A. (2017). Exploring the belief systems of domestic abuse victims: An exploratory study. Journal of Criminological Research, 3, 17-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRPP-10-2016-0028.

Gannon, T.,… Spruin, E., Tyler, N., & Ciardha, C. (2015). Specialist group therapy for firesetting behaviour: Evidence of a treatment effect from a non-randomised pilot trial with male prisoners. Behavioural Research and Therapy, 73, 42-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2015.07.007.

Spruin, E., Alleyne, E., & Papadki, I. (2015). Domestic abuse victims perceptions of abuse and support: A narrative study. Journal of Criminal Research, Policy and Practice, 1, 19-28. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRPP-10-2014-0002.

For a full list of publications see my Staff Profile.


Research Interests:

My current research focuses on the use of specially trained dogs in the criminal justice system, specifically looking at the support these dogs can provide witnesses and the challenges of such services, such as jury bias. The aim of this research is to investigate the benefits of using these dogs in supporting victims and witnesses of crime. We hope that building this type of evidence base will further open up these practices to countries such as the UK, where such practices are not currently established. 


Current Research Projects:

I am currently working on the following research projects:

  • The use of justice facility dogs in the UK. This is in collaboration with Katarina Mozova (see here for her profile) and Susanna Mitchell (see here for her profile).
  • The use of therapy dogs for student mental health.  This is collaboration with Tracey Wornast (see here for her profile).

To read more about my latest research and my work as Director of the Justice Facility Dogs International Lab, please see our Lab page, here.


Recent Research Grant Awards:

  • £60,000 via donation of a Facility Dog from Duo (https://duodogs.org/).
  • £600 from Nottinghamshire Police in March 2020 to fund the placement of our facility dog in their ABE interviews.  The aim of this project is to explore the benefits which facility dogs can provide victims and witnesses undergoing police interviews.
  •  £600 from Derbyshire Police in December 2019 to fund the placement of our facility dog in their ABE interviews.  The aim of this project is to explore the benefits which facility dogs can provide victims and witnesses undergoing police interviews.