Dr. Elena Martellozzo is a criminologist and an Associate Professor in Criminology. She is the Director of Programmes in Polocing and Lectures on subject’s related to Victimisation and Cybercrime. When Elena lectures she bings into the classroom her research experience which includes: exploring children and young people’s online behaviour, the analysis of sexual grooming and police practice in the area of child sexual abuse, online risks, digital harms and victimisation.
She is an active researcher at the centre for Child Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS) at Middlesex University. She has an extensive experience in both teaching and researching subjects within the criminal justice arena. She is a world leading expert in online safety and is involved in policy debates at the intersection of technology and human behaviour. Her research includes exploring online harms, online violence against the most vulnerable, including women and children, the analysis of sexual abuse and police practice in child safety. She participates in highly sensitive research with the Police, the IWF, the NSPCC, the OCC, the Home Office and other government departments and has acted as an advisor on child online protection to governments and practitioners in Italy (since 2004) and Bahrain (2016) to develop a national child internet safety policy framework. As a published, peer-reviewed author, I have been featured by BBC, New York Post, Sunday Times, The Guardian, Channel 4, Radio 4, ITV, The Times Radio.
English, Italian, Spanish
Dr Elena Martellozzo is interested in supervising PhDs in any of her specialist areas (child sexual abuse, online grooming, policing and victimology) and welcomes informal enquiries from potential doctoral students.
Dr Mary Aiken (Completed in 2016) A Content Analysis Approach to the Investigation, Comprehension and Prevention of Cyber Sexualised Behaviour in Children and Adolescents. Co Supervised with Prof Julia Davidson
Dr Andy Monaghan (Completed in 2017) Self-Generated Images in Online Pornography. Co Supervised with Prof. Vincenzo Ruggiero
Waleid Alantali (Completed in 2018) Strengthening e-crime legislation in the UAE. Co Supervised with Prof Julia Davidson and Renu Barton-Hanson
Sam Jenkins (Completed 2019) A critical evaluation of the justifications for the criminalization of virtual child pornography. Co-supervised with Prof Julia Davidson
Nicola Coleman (Complted 2021) A Critical exploration of the Relationship between Family structure, Family Functioning and Youth Offending. Co-supervised with Dr David Porteous and Dr Carly Guest
Paula Bradbury (Ongoing) Outcome 21. Co-supervisor Dr Jeffrey DeMarco
2019 Senior Fellow of the Higher Academy Society (Ref: REF PR161124)
2019-ongoing Member of Advisory group for policing online child sexual exploitation and abuse project. The Police Foundation;
2018-ongoing Member of the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA);
2012- ongoing Member of UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), United Kingdom;
2009- ongoing Member of the Ethic Committee, School of Law, Middlesex University;
2003-ongoing Member of Scientific Committee, Prometeo, Milan, Italy
2010-2014 Member of the Advisory Group (HMIC) Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (UK)
Elena studies issues of online harms, online violence against women and children, the analysis of sexual grooming and police practice in child safety. The findings of her research have been utilised for training purposes and, where possible, to shape policy and legislation. She is currently co-leading research ($240,000) funded by Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund (UNICEF). This is a multidisciplinary research project (with Psychology and the tech industry), which will explore and quantify the issues facing content moderators reviewing child sexual abuse material to develop and pilot an intervention designed specifically for content moderators. This research will be conducted in 12 countries in Europe and will include others in the Global South.
One of the most influential pieces of research she conducted, was a large empirical study, funded by the NSPCC and the Children Commissioner for England. The study was co led with Prof Miranda Horvath, with the support from colleagues from the Sociology and Psychology departments. Since the completion of study, she has worked closely with the government to improve policy at different levels. This work drove public debate on pornography, healthy relationships, and sex education. It provided the first incontrovertible evidence that viewing pornography affects the behaviour of young people and received extensive national and international media coverage. The results provided fresh leverage for a range of statutory and non-statutory organisations, politicians, and NGOs to evidence the need for changes in sex education. She advises on a number of studies:
At different times: advise major global high-tech companies including Facebook and other organizations such as Telefono Azzurro, NSPCC, The Children Commissioner, Metropolitan Police, Internet Watch Foundation, Polizia di Stato.
During the past 20 years, Elena’s academic focus has been on ‘cyber’ crime, ‘cyber’ victims, policy and practice. Her publications and blogs focus on current issues related to young people engagement with social media and online harms.
Refereed Journal Articles:
Peer reviewed research reports:
Bleakley, Paul and Martellozzo, Elena and Spence, Ruth and DeMarco, Jeffrey (2023) Moderating online child sexual abuse material (CSAM): Does self-regulation work, or is greater state regulation needed? European Journal of Criminology . ISSN 1477-3708 (Accepted/In press)
Spence, Ruth and Harrison, Amy and Bradbury, Paula and Bleakley, Paul and Martellozzo, Elena and DeMarco, Jeffrey (2023) Content moderators’ strategies for coping with the stress of moderating content online. Journal of Online Trust and Safety , 1 (5). pp. 1-18. ISSN 2770-3142
Short, Emma and Bradbury, Paula and Martellozzo, Elena and Frost, Stewart and Bleakley, Paul (2022) Frontline response: exploring the impact of COVID‐19 on stalking behaviours. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology , 37 (3). pp. 540-548. ISSN 0882-0783
Martellozzo, Elena and Bleakley, Paul and Bradbury, Paula and Frost, Stewart and Short, Emma (2022) Police responses to cyberstalking during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. The Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles . ISSN 0032-258X (Published online first)
Bleakley, Paul and Frost, Stewart and Bradbury, Paula and Short, Emma and Martellozzo, Elena (2022) The right tool for the job: evaluating police experiences of a pilot tool for responding to stalking. Policing: a journal of policy and practice . ISSN 1752-4512 (Published online first)
Dr Martellozzo develops innovative research, continually attracting research funding in highly sensitive areas with government departments including the police, the Internet Watch Foundation, the NSPCC, the Children Commissioner for England, the Home Office. Here is a list of her funded projects, which she led and co-led with other colleagues
November 2021-July 2023
Invisible Risks: Combating secondary trauma to safeguard children
College of Policing
Evaluation of the Stalking Screening Tool
Home Office with Barnardo’s
Developing typologies of sex offences
Exploring the pathways of hacking in young people
Young people and online pornography
Internet Watch Foundation, United Kingdom
An evaluation of effectiveness in safeguarding cyberspace
NSPCC, OCC, BBFC
Examining the impact of legal pornography on children
TRA, Kingdom of Bahrain
State of the nation review on internet safety
Understanding sex Offenders Online Activities
Metropolitan Police Understanding Children’s Online Activities: Enhancing Practice Police
As a published peer-reviewed author, and well-established national and international Criminologist, Dr Martellozzo is regularly invited as a commentator by the BBC, New York Post, Sunday Times, The Guardian, Channel 4, Radio 4, ITV, The Times Radio. Here is some of her recent media work: