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 im­pact of the Cov­id-19 pan­dem­ic on the de­vel­op­ment of crime us­ing the ex­ample of Baden-Württem­berg (COV­ID-19-KRIM; more in­form­a­tion com­ing soon)", 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

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


Journal Article (36)

Journal Article
Wössner, G. (2021). Sexualstraftäter als Herausforderung der Forschung und Kriminalpolitik - Ergebnisse einer Längsschnittstudie zur sozialtherapeutischen Behandlung und zum Rückfall von Sexualstraftätern im Freistaat Sachsen. Forum Strafvollzug, 71, 126–133. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-D478-3
Journal Article
Gauder, K.-S., & Wössner, G. (2021). (Psychosoziale) Strategien der Wiedereingliederung im Lebensverlauf haftentlassener Sexualstraftäter. Bewährungshilfe, 68(1), 37–52. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-256F-3
Journal Article
Wössner, G. (2021). Sexueller Kindesmissbrauch durch Kinderpornografie-Konsumenten? DAS JUGENDAMT – Zeitschrift für Jugendhilfe und Familienrecht, 2021(1), 12–15. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-CD11-F
Journal Article
Wössner, G., & Hefner, F. (2020). Criminal Recidivism after Imprisonment Among Sex Offenders and Violent Offenders: A Comparison between Self-reported and Officially Recorded Reoffending Behavior. Criminology - The Online Journal, (2), 264–282. doi:10.18716/ojs/krimoj/2020.2.10
Journal Article
Meuer, K., & Wössner, G. (2020). Does electronic monitoring as a means of release preparation reduce subsequent recidivism? A randomized controlled trial in Germany. European Journal of Criminology, 17(5), 563–584. doi:10.1177/1477370818809663
Journal Article
Wössner, G. (2019). Wie verträgt sich Forschungsfreiheit mit Strafvollzugsforschung und wie verträgt sich Strafvollzugsforschung mit Forschungsfreiheit? – Plädoyer für eine integrative Lösung. Neue Kriminalpolitik, (4), 414–428. doi:10.5771/0934-9200-2019-4-414
Journal Article
Wössner, G. (2019). Tratamiento en prisión de delincuentes sexuales en prisiones alemanas y evaluación de su efectividad: panorama de una investigación longitudinal. Revista de l'Institut Universitari d'Investigació en Criminologia i Ciències Penals de la UV, 2019(22), 237–250. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-A00C-7
Journal Article
Wössner, G., & Meuer, K. J. (2019). Implementierung und Folgen elektronischer Überwachung: Ergebnisse eines kriminologischen Experiments zum Einsatz der elektronischen Aufsicht im Vollzug der Freiheitsstrafe in Baden-Württemberg. Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform, 102(3), 202–216. doi:10.1515/mks-2019-2018
Journal Article
Wössner, G. (2018). Fatales Spiel mit der Angst. Max-Planck-Forschung, 2018(2), 10–15. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-6A68-F
Journal Article
Wössner, G. (2018). Russian roulette with mental health. MaxPlanckResearch, 2018(3), 10–15. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-6A70-5
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