top of page
Links with young woman using a virtual reality headset.jpg


Research in Forensic Psychology and Criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University

The VR Crime Lab is a university research lab led by Dr. Jennifer Lavoie. Our work focuses on leveraging immersive technologies to answer research questions in psychology and law. Members include graduate and undergraduate students at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford campus.


Dr. Jennifer Lavoie is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Her career began in the Canadian military before transitioning into academic training in experimental forensic psychology. She received her MA and PhD in psychology and law from Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC. Prior to joining Laurier, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Ontario.


She conducts nationally (SSHRC, NSERC) and provincially funded research focused on police interactions with people in mental health crisis. Her program of research primarily explores the design and effectiveness of police de-escalation and crisis response training models in Canada. She is the lead author on the De-escalating Persons in Crisis Competencies Tool (DePICT), a standardized competencies-based assessment tool used to evaluate an officer’s skills to de-escalate, communicate, and safely engage in relational policing. She also investigates how people with lived experience of mental illness and family carers perceive police encounters during crisis.  


She has been recognized through Laurier’s Award for Research Excellence in 2017 and 2020. Jennifer is currently the lead investigator on a 4-year government funded project to develop and examine the effectiveness of a virtual reality scenario-based de-escalation training program for frontline police officers. In January 2023, she founded the VR Crime Lab at Laurier's Brantford campus.



From Theory to Application

Meet our Lab Members

Our lab members are Graduate and Undergraduate Students in the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences at Laurier Brantford

The Lab

Our lab is located in the Research and Academic Centre - East (RCE225 and RCE226)

at Wilfrid Laurier University's Brantford Campus.

Support group
VR Goggles
Image by Remy Gieling
Empty Chairs
bottom of page