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Getting to know cybercrime victims and offenders: a special attention to child sexual aggressors

Part-time Predoc Offer in Psychology at Comillas Pontifical University (Madrid, Spain)

Based on the UNICEF report ‘The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World’, children and adolescents under 18 already account for an estimated one in three Internet users around the World. Although these children and teenagers may be considered digital natives, sometimes they are not fully aware of the risks and threats, or of the benefits and opportunities that technology and the internet offer. In order to tackle this very important issue, it is necessary to identify potential risk profiles, as well as to teach and train minors to make proper use of the Internet and associated technologies. And is there a better way to do so than by playing?

This is the main goal of the EU H2020 project RAYUELA (empoweRing and educAting YoUng pEople for the internet by pLAying).

The project aims to bring together law enforcement agencies (LEAs), sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, legal experts, ethicists, philosophers, computer scientists and engineers, to carry out, first, thorough research on the sociological, anthropological, and psychological factors affecting cybercrimes, such as online grooming, cyberbullying, or trafficking networks (especially focused on sexual exploitation), as well as on the technological threats associated to the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as connected toys, wearables, or virtual assistants. The main findings of this research will be translated into an interactive story-like game in which these topics will be addressed through different cyber-adventures in which players may end up in a risky or safe situation depending on the decisions they make. Thus, the players may “live” different stories depending on the decisions they make while playing (and learn from them), the same way as the well-known Cortázar novel (Rayuela/Hopscotch) involves different stories depending on the decisions the reader makes while reading it.

As a result, the data gathered through the game will allow modelling, in a friendly and non-invasive manner, online habits and user profiles related to cybersecurity and cybercriminality based on a large and diverse sample covering the most representative geographical areas in Europe, thus providing LEAs with scientifically sound foundations to define appropriate policies and measures. In addition, unlike traditional research approaches where the impact on target users is unclear, in this case the target population will benefit from the main takeaways directly by playing the game.

So the Heaven of this particular hopscotch is none other than contributing to make the Internet a safer and better place for our children. Would you like to join us in this exciting adventure?

Both a part-time predoc (this offer) and a full-time postdoc will be working together within the frame of the present project indicated above. Their tasks will be different but complementary, in order to achieve RAYUELA becoming true.

The main tasks of the predoc will be the following:

-Reviewing Spanish penal sentences about online grooming and administrative processes and lower courts sentences about cyberbullying to extract information about the modus operandi and the profile of both victims and offenders (eg. sex, age…). This information will be used to configurate the main characters and the plot of the videogame’s adventures so that we can create a virtual sphere mirroring the reality of these offences.

-Designing semi-structured interviews and interviewing both victims (or associations) and offenders of sexual abuse/online grooming and cyberbullying offences to harbour an ampler idea of their profiles.

-Attending international conferences to disseminate the results obtained as well as collaborating in/attending international meetings with our partners to help in compiling the information from a cross-cultural perspective

-Counselling during the process of creation of the videogame based on the information extracted and his/her background experience

-Preparing essays (committed H2020 deliverables) and submitting manuscripts to high-top scientific journals

-Collaborating in public dissemination activities

-The topic of the PhD may not strictly follow the information extracted in the tasks mentioned above, but it will be necessary related to paedophilia, online grooming or sexual offence.

What we offer:

- Carrying out top-notch research for a good cause in a multidisciplinary environment within the scope of the EU H2020 project RAYUELA

- A competitive 36-months contract starting the 1st of October of 2020 in a part-time manner (20h per week).

- Working in a friendly and dynamic environment in Comillas Pontifical University

- Enjoying the unrivalled quality of life of the Madrid region

What we look for:

We are looking for outstanding undergraduates holding a Psychology degree plus a Qualifying Master in Clinical Psychology, research experience in the cybercrimes being studied in the RAYUELA project, as well as working in national and international research projects.

-Degree in Psychology (mandatory requirement). We will positively consider those good academic records, meaning those who can demonstrate a medium grade of 8 out of 10 (or more) according to the Spanish system.

-Qualifying Master in Clinical Psychology (mandatory requirement, homologated, if necessary, or at least justification that it will be delivered because all subjects are passed). We will positively consider those good academic records, meaning those who can demonstrate a medium grade of 8 out of 10 (or more) according to the Spanish system. This certification is mandatory because the interviews will be carried out with victims and they could show clinical symptoms that the applicant should know how to manage.

-Clinical experience. The applicant should be able to prove that has participated as co-therapist or main-therapist in individual interviews. She/he should be able to design semi-estructured interviews.

• Being already a member of any Spanish Board of Professional Psychology is a plus, and a mandatory requirement before starting the interviews
• It will be especially valued those applicants who:

o can show experience dealing with difficult interventions, such as facing conflictive situations or deontological dilemmas.
o can show experience dealing with minors at social risk, juvenile offenders or problematic children (in the form of extensive practicum, volunteer-based activities, previous jobs or collaborations in research programmes)
o can show experience dealing with child sexual offenders and/or victims of child sexual abuse (in the form of extensive practicum, volunteer-based activities, previous jobs or collaborations in research programmes)

-Research experience. The applicant should be able to prove that:

• has background knowledge about theoretical models in child sexual aggression and/or (cyber)bullying
• has basic statistics knowledge and knows how to run analysis in common package programs (SPSS, R or similar)
• has experience working in national/international research projects. It will be specially valued if the project had deadlines, needed schedule organization and the colleagues were from different backgrounds/had different perspectives
• has participated at least in one congress or conference. It will be specially valued if the topic was related to any of the crimes relevant to RAYUELA
• It will be specially valued those applicants who:
o had experience in managing legal documents such as sentences or prison expedients or at least have a basic knowledge of legal slang
o had already published in scientific journals about any of the crimes relevant to RAYUELA

-Good spoken and written English (B1 at least)

-Communicative skills. The ideal applicant should have participated in some teaching about prison studies, forensic studies, sexual delinquency or cyberbullying in front of an audience

-Passion for multidisciplinary research, in particular for the topic and goals of the project


Curriculum vitae, academic record, cover letter, and two recommendation letters.


Dr. Gregorio López (,

Dr. Nereida Bueno (,

Application deadline:
fifteen days from the day of publication of this offer.