Criminology

Our growing Criminology list takes a critical stance and features boundary-pushing work with innovative, research-led publications.  

A particular focus of the list are books that engage with our global social challenges, both on a local and international level. We aim to publish books in a wide range of formats that will have real impact and shape public discourse. 

Criminology

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This article seeks to understand the experiences of bystanders to domestic violence and abuse (DVA) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Wales. Globally, professionals voiced concern over the COVID-19 restrictions exacerbating conditions for DVA to occur. Yet evidence suggests this also increased opportunities for bystanders to become aware of DVA and take action against it. This mixed methods study consists of a quantitative online survey and follow-up interviews with survey respondents. Conducted in Wales, UK, during a national lockdown in 2021, this article reports on the experiences of 186 bystanders to DVA during the pandemic.

Results suggest that bystanders had increased opportunity to become aware of DVA due to the pandemic restrictions. Results support the bystander situational model whereby respondents have to become aware of the behaviour, recognise it as a problem, feel that they possess the correct skills, and have confidence in their skills, before they will take action. Having received bystander training was a significant predictor variable in bystanders taking action against DVA; this is an important finding that should be utilised to upskill general members of the community.

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Many women who are victims of domestic abuse also experience problematic substance use; yet there is a gap in knowledge concerning the interplay of both issues from the perspective of women. While some may use substances to cope with the impact of abuse, their use of substances can also be used against them by the perpetrator as a means of control. This narrative study seeks to reduce the gap in knowledge regarding women’s substance use and victimisation experiences by presenting findings from interviews with women who have experienced the co-occurring issues. Reflecting on the definition of coercive control, and exploring women’s narratives, this article demonstrates how perpetrators may use a woman’s substance use as justification to increase dependency, isolate them from sources of support, reduce their independence and regulate their everyday behaviour. This is an important finding, evidencing how substances are a tactic of coercive control. Conversely, the narratives also illustrate how women may use their substance use to be in control in an uncontrollable situation. Initial recommendations highlight the need to explore the nuance of experience among women with co-occurring substance use and domestic abuse, so that support is provided that is reflective of their lived experience.

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Evidence shows that blaming attitudes towards victims of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) are widespread, creating a social climate that condones this form of violence. The aim of the current study is to analyse the potential impact of multiple factors surrounding the scenario and some personal and attitudinal characteristics of the respondents on the responsibility attributed to victims and perpetrators of IPVAW. To achieve this, a factorial survey design in which each respondent (N = 1,007; 51.1% women) received a unique vignette describing a hypothetical case of IPVAW was implemented in an online survey conducted in Spain. We found that most respondents (78.9%) indicated that the victim was not at all responsible for her own victimisation, whereas 73.7 per cent indicated that the perpetrator was very responsible for his own behaviour. Our results also show the prominent role that attitudes, as opposed to many characteristics of the abuse, play in evaluations of victim blame (that is, sexist beliefs and acceptability of IPVAW). Our findings reveal some persistence of victim-blaming attitudes despite years of public awareness and education efforts in Spain.

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Gender-based violence (GBV) in schools in Burkina Faso is a central concern for international organisations, as well as local NGOs and the national government. Yet, the voices of school teachers have received limited attention. In this article, we draw on focus group discussions and interviews conducted with school teachers at two public schools in Burkina Faso to investigate how they conceptualise GBV, as well as the factors shaping their understanding. The findings foreground the situated and subjective nature of their conceptualisation; which is shaped not just by international and national policies, but also by the sociocultural context in which the policies are enacted. Existing gender norms, the acceptance of corporal punishment as a disciplinary tool inside homes, and the practice of child marriage in Burkina Faso emerged as key factors shaping the participants’ perceptions. Based on the findings we argue that teachers must be 1) empowered to critically assess contextually relevant gender norms and cultural practices, and 2) provided with clear codes of ethical conduct in schools. It is equally important that teachers are given a seat at the table of policy formulation at regional, national and international levels, and the challenges faced by them are given consideration when designing interventions to curb GBV.

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Ambivalent sexism has been described as influencing relationships in intimacy and partner abuse. Among 456 Spaniards, this study aimed to explore the association between mental health, ambivalent sexism and violence among opposite-sex and same-sex couples. Results showed that participants in abusive relationships presented higher levels of ambivalent and hostile sexism, regardless of partner’s sex. Psychological violence was associated with ambivalent and hostile sexism. Moderate physical violence was linked to hostile sexism. Participants in abusive relationships reported poorer mental health indexes. These findings highlight the need of interventions to focus on dimensions as sexism towards women, even when considering same-sex couples.

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This article focuses on sex work governance within multi-agency partnerships and initiatives in Wales. By engaging with notions of carceral humanism, this article seeks to make tangible the ways in which multi-agency partnerships co-opt and assimilate criminologists, activists, third-sector and community organisations, so that partisan commitments to advancing sex workers’ rights are transformed to bipartisan support for non-competing carceral frameworks and solutions. It argues that there is a process of carceral bifurcation that enables narratives of safeguarding and sex work to be utilised to strengthen non-competing carceral conceptualisations of, and solutions to, sex work.

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The NHS is now firmly positioned as a site of immigration control. As the Hostile Environment filters further into the NHS the principle of universality is increasingly disputed. As such, paradoxically, harm is reproduced through an institution which is intended to provide care. Despite the increasing breadth of recognition of the implications of charging migrants within the NHS in England, insights into specific practices within Wales are limited. Therefore, this research starts to address this paucity by providing initial insights into the extent of NHS charging within Wales.

The results from multiple freedom of information (FOI) requests sent to all seven health boards in Wales (carried out between January 2019 and August 2023) suggest that NHS treatment charging is common at scale across all health boards providing secondary care in Wales. In some instances, patients are being charged 150% of the cost of their treatment, and a significant number of patients are being incorrectly charged for care. It also appears that many patients have difficulty paying these charges, with significant outstanding invoices and many health boards resorting to using debt-collection agencies and/or payment plans in an attempt to elicit payment, and patients’ details being shared with the UK Home Office as a result.

Considering the harms which are produced through NHS charging regulations, campaigners and advocates including Patients Not Passports Wales call for charging regulations to be withdrawn from the NHS in Wales and across the UK.

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The issue of sexual harassment of early-career academics in Ireland has recently been brought to the fore through the mainstream media. Little research has been undertaken, however, on highlighting and documenting such experiences, leading to a lack of awareness and dearth of specifically targeted initiatives for this cohort. The authors, themselves early-career academics, attempt to highlight this problem by sharing data generated through focus group interviews with early-career academics, who reported experiences of sexual harassment in the context of challenges they faced in their work environment. The data presented here are shared to highlight these issues as being more common among early-career academics than believed. The authors call for further research to be undertaken focusing on early-career academics in order to raise awareness of such issues and for more resources to be developed to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and violence in higher education in Ireland.

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This article reports on how young people (aged 18–24) and stakeholders working in the area of violence against women (VAW) in Ireland, perceive young men’s role in addressing VAW. We find that men are considered well positioned to intervene as active bystanders and to engage in feminist allyship. However, several barriers to men’s active bystanding and engagement with the issue of VAW, as well as ethical, theoretical and practice issues, need to be considered. These include: the privileging of men’s willingness to listen to other men, thereby devaluing women’s perspectives; pluralistic ignorance where men feel other men do not share their discomfort of violence-supportive practices; and a tendency for men to default to confrontational modes of active bystanding. We highlight how these issues are even more pertinent to address given the presence of political forces that seek to stymie men’s support for feminist activism and causes related to gender politics.

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