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Dr Li Jessica C.M.
PolyU Scholars Hub

Dr Jessica LI

Associate Professor


Trained in social work and criminology, Dr Jessica Li is desirous of utilizing her combined knowledge of these two disciplines to contributing innovative ideas on how to build safe and secure communities, especially for disadvantaged groups. Prior to joining the academic field, she got intensive practical experience in working with juvenile delinquents, young offenders and drug abusers for over 10 years. 

With the philosophy of Discovery-without-boundary, Dr Jessica Li has been actively developing her research networks locally, in Mainland China and overseas. Locally, Dr Li made use of the competitive grants (ECS, PPR, GRF) awarded by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong to support her research on financial fraud against the elderly, social responses to girl compensated dating, police procedural justice and online sexual exploitations against minors.  Nationally, she was invited to get involved in two projects funded by the Guangdong Natural Science Foundation and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) respectively for Big-data studies. Internationally, Dr Li keeps on frequent collaboration with scholars from the United States, the United Kingdom, Africa, Philippines, and Australia for research and publications.

With the same philosophy, Dr Li is committed to getting her students enjoy learning whatever and whenever they want as well as whoever they are with, inside classroom, out of classroom, in real world, or the cyber world. In 2016, in collaboration with students, a cell-phone app was developed for preventing fraud against elderly. Students’ innovativeness was well recognized by media.  In 2018, Jessica designed a VR package (From Virtual Reality to Reality) to supplement social work teaching, focusing on working with offenders, which was empirically tested, and its results was published in 2019.  In 2021, another VR package (Aspiration) promoting learning-to-learn strategy was designed and implemented among students from social work and computer science background. 

Dr Li is honored to serve the academic community and Hong Kong society. She was one of the invited Guest Editors for the Special Issue on Crime Research in China of the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency (JRCD) - the first issue focusing on China in this leading journal in criminology. Internationally, she is currently an elected member in the Board of Directors of the Association of Chinese Criminology and Criminal Justice in the United States - an international association promoting scholarly and professional activities in the field of criminology. Locally, she served in the Assessment Panel of the Hong Kong Social Worker Registration Board, Independence Police Complaints Council, and a social work panel of the HK Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualification.

Education and Academic Qualifications

  • Ph.D., Department of Applied Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • M.Phil. in Criminology, Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, the United Kingdom
  • BA. in Social Work (Hons), Department of Applied Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Professional Qualifications

Registered Social Worker

Research Interests

  • Fraud and deception
  • Police-youth encounters
  • Child online sexual exploitation

Grants (selected)

Principal investigator : (2023-2025).  Developing Appropriate School Responses to Online Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents: A Qualitative Vignette Study in Hong Kong.  General Research Fund. Research Grants Council (Hong Kong) (HK$656,119)

Principal investigator: (2022-2024). Making Sense of Procedural Justice at Work: A Qualitative Study of Hong Kong Police Officers, Arrested Youths, and Guardians.  General Research Fund. Research Grants Council (Hong Kong) (HK$826,543)

Principal investigator: (2020-2021). Aspiration: examining the effectiveness of the learning to learn training package on university teaching and learning. Teaching Development Grant, larger-scale collaborative project, University Grants Committee (Hong Kong) and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University of Hong Kong.(HK$500,000)

Co-investigator: (2016-2020).  Big Data-based Research on Crime Geography- Micro-simulation and Optimized Prevention of Urban Crime, National Natural Science Foundation of China, PRC, China, (RMB3, 570,000).

Principal investigator: (2013-2015). Developing Appropriate Community Responses to Compensated Dating among Adolescent Girls: Perceptions and Preferences of Various Stakeholders. Early Career Scheme, Research Grants Council (Hong Kong) (HK$506,434)

Principal investigator: (2012-2014) Preventing Financial Crimes against Older People for Building a Safe and Secure Community. Public Policy Research, Research Grants Council (Hong Kong) (HK$308,397)


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