Dr. Gunda Wössner

Senior Researcher

Main Focus

Gunda Wöss­ner is one of the heads of the Vir­tu­al Burg­lary Pro­ject. As head of the re­search pro­ject Sex Of­fend­ers in the so­cial thera­peut­ic in­sti­tu­tions in the Free State of Sax­ony, Gunda Wöss­ner's re­search areas are sexual delinquency and vi­ol­ent of­fend­ing with a spe­cial fo­cus on treat­ment eval­u­ation of these of­fend­er groups, risk as­sess­ment and the ex­am­in­a­tion of risk and pro­tect­ive factors that are as­so­ci­ated with re­cidiv­ism and de­sist­ance. This in­cludes re­search on de­vel­op­ment­al path­ways to sexu­al offending and vi­ol­ent of­fend­ing. Since June 2021, she has been lead­ing the mod­ule "Viol­ence against part­ners and chil­dren" of the re­search pro­ject The consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic for crime in southwest Germany (COVID-19-KRIM), which is fun­ded by the BMBF and con­duc­ted at the Max Planck In­sti­tute.

An­oth­er re­search fo­cus in­cluded the eval­u­ation of "Elec­tron­ic mon­it­or­ing of pris­on­ers in Baden-Württem­berg/Ger­many".
She was also a mem­ber of the Steer­ing Group on the DAPHNE III pro­ject De­vel­op­ing in­teg­rated re­sponses to sexu­al vi­ol­ence: An in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary re­search pro­ject on the po­ten­tial of res­tor­at­ive justice.
Her re­search in­terests in­clude:

  • Sexu­al (re)offending and vi­ol­ent (re)of­fend­ing, (ter­ror­ist) risk as­sess­ment, de­vel­op­ment­al path­ways
  • Of­fend­er treat­ment, offender rehabilitation, de­sist­ance, and reentry re­search
  • Elec­tron­ic mon­it­or­ing
  • Eval­u­ation
  • Vic­timo­logy and res­tor­at­ive justice.

Curriculum Vitae

  • since Oct. 2016: Seni­or Re­search­er and pro­ject head, De­part­ment of Crim­in­o­logy, Max Planck In­sti­tute.
  • 2015–16: Pro­fess­or of Psy­cho­logy, Uni­versity of Ap­plied Po­lice Sci­ences, Baden-Wurttem­berg, Vil­lin­gen-Schwenningen.
  • 2006–14: Seni­or Re­search­er and pro­ject head, De­part­ment of Crim­in­o­logy, Max Planck In­sti­tute.
  • 2006–10: Worked as a psy­cho­ther­ap­ist-in-train­ing in the psy­cho­ther­apy out­pa­tient clin­ics of the uni­versit­ies of Freiburg and Mün­ster.
  • 2006: Doc­tor­al de­gree, thes­is on "Sexu­al Of­fend­er Ty­po­logy," Al­bert Lud­wigs Uni­versity Freiburg.
  • 2005–06: Re­search­er and Clin­ic­al Psy­cho­lo­gist at the Uni­versity of Mün­ster, clin­ic for psy­chi­atry and psy­cho­ther­apy.
  • 2004–05: Re­ceived re-entry bursary from the Vice-Chan­cel­lor and the Wo­men’s Of­fice of the Uni­versity of Freiburg.
  • 2001–04: Re­search­er (Doc­tor­al can­did­ate), Max Planck In­sti­tute.
  • 2000: Re­search as­sist­ant at the In­sti­tute for Fron­ti­er Areas of Psy­cho­logy and Men­tal Health (IGPP), Freiburg
  • 1998–99: Ex­tern­ship at the Psy­chi­at­ric In­sti­tute of Wash­ing­ton (D.C.).
  • 1998: Gradu­ated in psy­cho­logy from the Uni­versity of Freiburg ("Dip­lom").


Locked Up and Left Behind? Legal and Practical Conditions for Telephone Contacts of Imprisoned People

Access to telephone and other forms of electronic communication is one of the areas in which prison conditions vary significantly in Germany. The divergent conditions raise several fundamental human rights concerns, such as equal treatment of inmates, the right of resocialization, and the rights to privacy and family life. This research pro­ject… more

The Dynamics of Recidivism

Questioning the Relationship Between Child Pornography and Child Sexual Abuse more

Virtual Burglary Project

The Virtual Burglary Project is a research program co-headed by Prof. Claire Nee (University of Portsmouth) and involves a collaboration with researchers from Leiden University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The Virtual Burglary Project uses a VR approach to better understand the behavior of residential burglars and to contribute to crime… more


The project investigates the short- and medium-term effects of the Covid-19-Pandemic on crime in Baden-Würt­tem­berg (southwest Germany) during 2019 to 2021, based on recorded crime data, mobility data and various so­cio-economic and geographic data, and employing spatio-temporal modeling. A special module focusses on do­mes­tic violence against… more

 Geographical Behavior of Stranger Offenders

In the vast majority of sex offenses, offender and victim know each other. However, violent sexual assaults perpe­trated by strangers often incite strong feelings of fear in the community. Furthermore, rapes by strangers often pose considerable challenges and concern for law enforcement agencies. They are often faced with a multitude of complex and… more

Correctional Treatment and Reentry of Sex Offenders

Sex offenders in the social therapeutic institutions in the Free State of Saxony more

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