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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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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Much of the research on COVID-19 and violence against women and girls (VAWG) has focused on the impacts on victim-survivors or on organisations offering support. This qualitative study aimed at documenting the coping strategies of, and the impacts on, support workers, specifically domestic and sexual violence advocates (independent domestic violence advisor [IDVA] and independent sexual violence advisors [ISVA]), in two London based organisations. The findings revealed a double load of supporting others while coping with the impacts of the pandemic on themselves and their families. An unanticipated but revealing finding was that the conjunction of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement made visible and visceral the daily work that Black women do to manage everyday racism, including in the VAWG sector. For these women ‘returning to normal’ was an unwelcome and unacceptable prospect, making anti-racism work in the VAWG sector an urgent priority.

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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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Violence against Women (VAW) is considered a gender-specific human rights violation and is a form of discrimination that perpetuates women’s subordination and patriarchal structures throughout all levels of society. Research continues to demonstrate that the legal instruments dealing with sexual offences in Bangladesh have significant limitations and fail to meet international standards. This article identifies gaps between Bangladeshi domestic legal instruments and international legal instruments. In order to uncover and analyse the gaps, I employed thematic analysis techniques and a feminist legal theoretical lens. The findings of the study show that there are significant gaps and limitations regarding the conceptualisation of sexual violence, trial process, medical tests, variability of punishment, and protecting rights of victims in the present Bangladeshi legal instruments in comparison to the international instruments. This research provides insight into the alarming situation of sexual violence against women in Bangladesh and the problematic gaps within legal instruments in that nation, which governmental and academic authorities must consider if they are to be effective in preventing violence against women in Bangladesh.

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The aim of this research was to examine the relationship between surviving gender-based violence (GBV) and the long-term presence of clinical symptoms and psychological distress. This was a cross-sectional study of 105 women, 54 of whom had experienced GBV more than three years prior to the study. Participants ranged in age from 24 to 73 years old. They were assessed using a semi-structured interview, instruments to assess self-esteem, maladjustment, perceived stress, social support and resilience, and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III). Between-group differences and linear regression analyses were used to determine which variables had the greatest impact on the current psychological health status of women survivors of GBV. We found differences in levels of self-esteem, maladjustment, social support and perceived stress. There were also differences in most of the MCMI-III scales, indicating a pattern of depression and paranoid personality. Experiencing GBV in childhood was found to be predictive of increased pathology and emotional distress. Social support has been shown to be a protective factor for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. GBV should be treated as a distinct form of violence that requires specific treatment, rather than as just another form of interpersonal violence.

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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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An emerging body of research has shown that women who live in highly coercive settings characterised by poverty and housing instability face a heightened risk of intimate partner violence. We seek to contribute to this literature by exploring how multiple, overlapping social and structural factors shape intimate partner violence (IPV) risk among women who use drugs (WWUD). Analysis of 16 in-depth interviews with WWUD in Uyo, Nigeria, framed by intersectionality, reveals that intimate partnerships of WWUD were contextualised by socio-economic disadvantages, housing instability, and dependent substance use. Intimate partnerships motivated by women’s concerns to meet survival needs manifested as unequal exchanges that locked them in abusive relationships. Socio-economic deprivations, housing instability and dependent substance use operated at a more distal level to shape unequal relationships characterised by dependence and subordination of WWUD, the later factors constituting the proximal axis of IPV risk. WWUD sought to negotiate IPV risk through deference and acquiescence to male partners. Interventions aiming to reduce IPV risk within intimate partnerships of WWUD should seek to expand the space women have to negotiate risks within these partnerships in the short term. In the long term, they should focus on ensuring access to safe housing, economic support and drug treatment services.

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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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This Open Space piece discusses the implementation of a chatbot for victim-survivors who are subjected to domestic abuse. Being deployed as part of the ISEDA project (Innovative Solutions to Eliminate Domestic Abuse), a Horizon Europe project involving 15 partners from nine European countries, the chatbot will aim to provide women who are subjected to domestic abuse with information about domestic abuse, local support services, links to emergency services and potentially act as a place to store evidence that can be used in court. We discuss the ethical considerations surrounding the implementation of the chatbot within the project, and use of technology to support women within the domestic abuse sector in general. We highlight some of the positives alongside pitfalls of this way of working, and outline some of the considerations surrounding longevity of the chatbot in light of empowering under-funded women’s services.

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