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 sex 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 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 and vi­ol­ent (re)of­fend­ing, (ter­ror­ist) risk as­ses­ment, de­vel­op­ment­al path­ways
  • Of­fend­er treat­ment, 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").


The Virtual Burglary Project uses virtual reality (VR) versions of residential neighborhoods to study the behavior of burglars. Convicted burglars are invited to explore a neighborhood, select a target to burglarize, and commit a bur­glary in VR and to go about it just as they would in the real world. The VR system tracks all their behavior in real… 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

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

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