Rachael Collins

Personal Profile

Dr. Rachael E. Collins
Associate Professor
Phone: 1.902.491.6475
Email: r.collins@smu.ca


PhD University of Saskatchewan   

Rachael Collins 300 x 400 px


Violence; Risk; Behaviour Development and Personality Disorders; Mass Shootings; Serial Homicide; Social Isolation; Trauma

Dr. Collins is a mixed method, interdisciplinary scholar with a background in Psychology, Sociology and Criminology. Her primary research area involves understanding violent behavior and the factors most highly and consistently related to violence and risk. Dr. Collins has two main themes in her research:

The first attempts to understand some of the risk factors, such as social isolation, depression, and the effects of trauma and personality disorders that are sometimes associated with the complex behavior of mass shooters and perpetrators of multiple homicide. Additionally, she seeks to understand how anger, rage and trauma is affecting young men.   

The second theme involves researching policy, programs and stakeholders related to mental health treatment and access to treatment resources for youth at risk in Nova Scotia.


2020 – Present Associate Professor (tenured), Department of Criminology, SMU

2015 – 2020     Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology, SMU


Smuworks Grant (2021/2022) Amount: $4595.00

SSHRC Grant (2021) Amount: $6000.00

FGSR Internal Grant (2021) Amount: $6000.00

FGSR Internal Grant (2020) Amount: $6000.00

Smuworks Grant (2019) Saint Mary’s University Amount: $3603.60         

FGSR Internal Grant (2019) Amount: $3000.00     

Smuworks Grant (2018) Saint Mary’s University Amount: $3603.60                     

FGSR Internal Grant (2018) Amount: $3000.00     

Smuworks Grant (2018) Saint Mary’s University Amount: $5577.00                     

FGSR Internal Grant (2017) Amount: $2,972.50                

Smuworks Grant (2017) Saint Mary’s University Amount: $3559.00                     

Smuworks Grant (2017) Saint Mary’s University Amount: $5460.00                     

Smuworks Grant (2016) Saint Mary’s University Amount: $5460.00

New Faculty Grant (2015) Amount: $5000.00                    


SSHRC New Frontiers in Research Fund (2020). Dr. Michael Zhang (PI). “Supporting Youth with Mental Health Conditions using Machine Learning Analytics.” Amount: $250,000.00.

SSHRC Connections Grant (2018). Dr. Livingston (PI). Amount: $23,030.00.     


Amplifying Voices Research Report. (2022). Partnership with Halifax Chamber of Commerce;

My East Cost Experience; Footprint Life Coaching; Ashanti Leadership & PDS.  

Collins, R. E., & Williams, M. (2020). A Nova Scotia Tragedy. SMU Faculty Newsletter.

    [May]. https://campusnews.smu.ca/campusnotes/2020/5/8/dr-collins

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report (2019). Phoenix House “Voices from the Heart of Phoenix.”

    Co-designed (with Dr. Stephen Schneider) the methodology and four questionnaires used to guide the research report.

Collins, R. E. & Hale, M. (2017). Building communities around active teaching and learning.

    The Studio Sentinel. [Newsletter], Issue 1, Summer.


Byers, M., & Collins, R. E. (2022). ‘We're here for something else’: Mindhunter, serial Murder and the Reverential. In Claire O’Callaghan and Sarah Fanning (Eds.). Serial Killers on Screen. Palgrave.

Byers, M., & Collins, R.E. (2022). Exceptional Breeding: The serial killer and the Mindhunter. In M. Harmes (Ed.). Police and policing in the 21 Century.  McFarland & Company.

Collins, R. E. (2012). Social control, moral panics and prison: Social harms produced by the myth of the ‘new’ hyper-violent girl (pp. 43-56). In: Prisons and Prison Systems: Practices, Types and Challenges, (Eds. Johan Fuhrmann and Stefan Baier).

Collins, R. E. (2008).  Review of the book Crime, Social Control and Human Rights: From Moral Panics to States of Denial. Essays in Honour of Stanley Cohen. Canadian Review of Sociology http://www.csaa.ca/CRSA/BookReview/ReviewsList.htm.


*denotes publications with students

Byers, M., & Collins, R. E. (2021). The Dead and the Abhorred: The Return of Mother-Blame in Contemporary Serial Killer Narratives. Crime, Media, Culture. DOI: 10.1177/17416590211031282.

*Williams, M., Healey, J., & Collins, R. E. (2020). ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’: A Narrative on Russell Williams’s Sadistic Aetiology. To be Submitted: Journal of Aggressive Behavior (July 2020)

Collins, R. E. (2017). Applying meta-analysis to criminological research – a step-by-step approach. SAGE Research Methods, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473994782.

Collins, R. E. (2016). Addressing the inconsistencies in fear of crime research: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Criminal Justice, 47, 21-31. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 14, 77-99.

Collins, R. E. (2016). ‘Beauty and Bullets’: A content analysis of female offenders and victims in the Canadian press. Journal of Sociology, 52, 296-310.

Collins, R. E. & Marrone, D. F. (2015). Scared sick: Relating fear of crime to mental health in older adults. SAGE Open, DOI: 10.1177/2158244015602516.

Collins, R. E. (2014). The construction of race and crime in Canadian print media: A 30 year analysis. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 14, 77-99.

Collins, R. E. (2014). Fear and marginalization: A mixed methodological approach of the language in four Canadian newspapers. SAGE Research Methods, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/978144627305013514659.

Collins, R. E. (2010). The effect of gender on violent and nonviolent recidivism: A meta-analysis. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38, 675-684.


*denotes Presentations with students

*Miller, E., *Taweel, E., & Collins, R. E. (2020). ‘What’s your snapchat? I’ll be watching you’: The harms associated with social media and attachment. Submitted to the 10th National Conference on Critical Perspectives in Criminology and Social Justice (NCCP). June 18-19. Quebec City, Canada.

Collins, R. E. (2019). Nova Scotia Correctional Officers and Job Related Harm: Understanding Fear, Anxiety and Depression. To be presented at the 4th North American Correctional and Criminal Justice Psychology Conference (NACCJPC4). Halifax, NS, Canada.

Collins, R. E. (2019). Media images of Violent Female Offenders. Saint Mary’s University. Halifax, NS.

Collins, R. E. (2019). Beauty and Bullets. Saint Mary’s University. Halifax, NS.

Collins, R. E., & *Taweel, E. (2018). Understanding the link between fear of crime and physical activity: A meta-analysis. Presented at the 8th National Conference on Critical Perspectives: Criminology and Social Justice. Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS, Canada.

Collins, R. E. (2016). Fear Inc. Saint Mary’s University. Halifax, NS.

Collins, R. E. (2015). Black Widows and Bombshell Bandits. University of Guelph. Guelph, ON

Collins, R. E. (2015).  The Power of Fear. Conestoga College. Waterloo, ON.

Collins, R. E. (2014). Women & Crime: Convergent Evidence from Multiple Approaches. University of Nottingham. UK.

Collins, R. E. (2014). Bombshell Bandits: An Analysis of Female Offenders and Victims in the Canadian Press. Presented at the Annual Canadian Sociological Association. Brock University, St. Catherine’s, ON, Canada.

Collins, R. E. (2014). A mixed Methods Approach to the Study of Women and Crime. University of Kent. Kent, UK.

Collins, R. E. (2014). The Importance of Studying Women & Crime. University of Leeds. Leeds, UK.

Collins, R. E. (2014).  Evidence-Based Decision-Making as a Theme for Teaching Quantitative Methods. Saint Mary’s University. Halifax, NS.

Collins, R. E. (2014). The Importance of Combining Teaching and Research on Crime and Gender. University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, SK.

Collins, R. E. (2013). Is the Risk Society Bad for our Health? Wilfrid Laurier University. Waterloo, ON.

Collins, R. E. (2013). Is the Risk Society Bad for our Health? Wilfrid Laurier University. Waterloo, ON.

Collins, R. E. (2012).  Criminology: Towards a Greater Understanding of Women and Crime. Conference Session Organizer and Judge, Annual Canadian Sociological Association, Waterloo, ON, Canada.

Collins, R. E. (2011). Meet the devil, He’ll Chill you to the Bone - Fear, Marginalization and the Colour of Crime: A 30 Year Analysis of the Canadian Press. Wilfrid Laurier University. Waterloo, ON. 

Collins, R. E. (2011).  Fear of Crime with Progressive Age. Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON & University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK.

Collins, R. E. (2011). The Construction of Race and Crime in Canadian Print Media: A 30 year Analysis.  Presented at the 12th Annual Graduate Student Conference. University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

Collins, R. E. (2010). Guilt by Omission: What Canadian Media do not Report about Crime. Presented at the Annual Canadian Sociological Association. Montreal, QC, Canada. 

Collins, R. E. (2006). The Effect of Gender on Violent Recidivism – A Meta-Analysis. Presented at the American Society of Criminology. Los Angeles, CA.


  • “Compacting Trauma can set off Mass Shooters.” Content expert for the Chronical Herald. Interviewed by Chris Lambie. April 2021.
  • CTV Atlantic 6 o’clock News with Steve Murphy. Interviewed by Steve Murphy. Risk factors for mass shooters. April 27, 2020
  • CTV News Halifax. Interviewed with Nick Moore. Warning signs and preventative measures for mass shootings. April 28, 2020
  • The Current with Matt Galloway. Live National CBC Morning radio. “The Nova Scotia Massacre” April 27th, 2020.
  • CBC Morning Radio. Interviewed by Blair Sanderson. “Crime after Covid-19” (April 2020).
  • Content Expert - https://www.ledevoir.com/documents/special/19-12_violence-armes-a-feu-canada/index.html “30 ans après Polytechnique, retour sur la violence par armes à feu au Canada” By Ludovic Théberge and Antoine Béland (December 6, 2019) in LeDevoir
  • Content Expert in filmed documentary “Horrible Minds” (August and September 2019)
  • Brett Bundale for the Canadian Press “New details in U.S. woman’s appeal of sentence in Valentine’s Day plot” (February 14, 2019).


Master’s Students (Primary Supervisor)

2022, Marty Williams, Department of Criminology, (Title unknown)

2021, Colleen McCarthy, Department of Criminology, The culture of entitlement and the rise of Incel hate.

2018, Timi Idris, Department of Criminology, The Culture and Normalization of Corruption in Nigeria (A focus on the Nigerian Government). Defended August 2019.


Master’s Students (Committee Member)

2020, Lakeisha K. McSweeney, Department of Criminology, She Just Snapped! Rethinking mad, sad and bad discourses of women who kill. Defended July 2021.

2018, Alicia McVarnock, Department of Psychology, Service Quality, Resilience, and Social-Emotional Competence in Vulnerable Youth: What’s LOVE got to do with it? Defended March 2021.


Criminology Honours Students (Primary Supervisor)

2020, Colleen McCarthy, The case of St. Michael’s college and the growing problem of online humiliation.

2019, Martin Williams, ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’: A Case Study on Russell Williams and Severe Sexual Sadism.

2019, Erin Miller, What’s Your Snapchat? I’ll Be Watching You.

2018, Zimo Meng, Cross Cultural Analysis of Women Who Kill: Canada Versus China.

2018, Kaitiee Fleming, Safe Streets for Whom: An in-depth look at the Harms Associated with the Safe Streets Act.

2017, Jordan Dempsey, Moral Panics and Fear of Crime around Terrorism in the Online World of Twitter.

2016, Nathan Cox, Pokémon Go: Understanding Community and Social Interaction in a Digital World.

2016, Kala Rafuse, Stress, Pressure, and Anxiety: Binge Drinking at Saint Mary’s University.

2016, Chantale Comeau, Patriarchy, Class Ideologies and Rape Myths: A Content Analysis of the Jian Ghomeshi Trial.

Research Assistants

Brianna Hamilton (2021 – 2022)

Gwen Pearson (Summer fulltime – 2021)

Nicole Pearson (2020 – Present)

Colleen McCarthy (2020 - Present)

Ashton Bremner (2018)

Matt Allain (2018)

Audhora Rahman (2018-2019)

Marlee Jordan (2017)

Johnathan Lander (2017-2019)

Emily Taweel (2017-2020)

Maxwell Long (2017-2018)

Erica Langille (2017-2018)

Chantal Comeau (2016-2018)

Jordan Dempsey (2016-2018)

Rebeka King (2015-2016)

Cory Blumenfeld (2013-2014) WLU

Danish O'Habib (2013-2014) WLU


  • CRIM 3102  Quantitative Research Methods
  • CRIM 3520  Understanding Mass Shootings
  • CRIM 4838  Serial Murder


Contact us

Faculty of Arts
Department of Criminology
McNally South 424
Mailing address:
923 Robie Street