SVDV Seminar: John Worboys and Parole Board decision-making? 24th September

DMU’s SVDV Research Network’s were delighted to host Danielle Bates and Professor Gavin Dingwall from DMU’s School of Law on 24th September 2018.

They presented a paper entitled:

How has the John Worboys decision altered Parole Board decision-making?

Danielle and Gavin provided an overview of the High Court decision to quash a recommendation to release serial sex offender John Worboys taken by the Parole Board. After discussing the background to the case, they focused on three aspects of the ruling: that the decision made by the Parole Board was not irrational; the use of evidence in decision-making; and the changes that were made to the Parole Board rules following the decision. They assessed how these changes are operating in practice and how it will affect those offenders coming before the Parole Board in future.

Danielle graduated from DMU Law School this summer and has been working with Professor Dingwall as a research assistant.

Professor Gavin Dingwall has interests in a number of areas of criminal law and penology and is author of several esteemed publications including Blamestorming, Blamemongers and Scapegoats: Allocating blame in the criminal justice process (with Tim Hillier, Policy Press, 2016).

The seminar was well attended by members of the network and wider friends, which prompted a lively debate.

Service User Involvement Event 15th June 2018

Empowering those affected by sexual or domestic violence: What does service user involvement mean and how can it be implemented across service providers?

This well attended event was hosted by members of the network: Professor Julie Fish, Ana Szabo and Di Turgoose, following their work on service user involvement funded by the Leicester City Council and supported by a number of local service providers.

Discussions were plentiful and future plans for developing research in this area and supporting service user involvement in services are under development.





Coercion, Trauma and Women in the Criminal Justice System (12 May 2017, 2-4pm)

I Felt Trapped And I Couldn’t See Another Option: Women Co-offenders’ Pathways Into Crime And Experiences Of Coercion

Dr Charlotte Barlow (Lancaster University) will discuss the growing body of literature which supports the claim that women follow distinct and often gendered pathways into crime. (Daly, 1992; Belknap & Holsinger, 2006).

Women Offenders, Trauma and Community Based Interventions

Sara Swire, CEO (New Dawn New Day) will discuss the work of the charity New Dawn New Day, which has sought to improve the lives of women and girls particularly those who have complex needs for almost 30 years.

This seminar will focus on women in the criminal justice system, but it will also be of wider interest to colleagues in other fields of discipline and practice whose work relate to trauma and the use of coercion.
This seminar is open to all staff, students, statutory and voluntary sector.

Registration: Email Vanessa Bettinson

Took place 12 May 2017

Flyer for Coercion and Trauma seminar (PDF)


Coercion and Control Conference hosted at DMU (11th Nov 2016)

The Coercion and Control in the commission of sexual violence and domestic violence  conference was a great success at De Montfort University on the 11th November 2016. With fantastic inputs from: Ruth Aitken from REFUGE, Vanessa Bettinson from DMU and Professor Anne-Marie McAlinden from Queen’s University Belfast. Cross cutting discipline presentations from Media, Law, Arts, Social Work, Health and Criminology. Pictured here are the Written Foundations company that include actors, writers and directors who produced a powerful piece of drama for the event, drawing upon the real life experiences of survivors and practitioners.

For more information, see:

2016 Conference – Keynote Speakers

2016 Conference – Keynote Abstracts

Dr Lisa Oakley, ‘Exploring Spiritual Abuse and the implications for policy and practice’: SVDV seminar hosted at DMU (8 June 2016)

On Wednesday 8th June 2016, Dr Lisa Oakley (pictured) presented a seminar at DMU entitled: “The whole thing is based on fear- this is abuse and people need to know that” – Exploring Spiritual Abuse and the implications for policy and practice.

Lisa-story-pic-560x300pxThis seminar explored the topic of spiritual abuse. This form of abuse is attracting growing attention in light of changes to the definitions of domestic violence to include coercion and control and in response to the prevent agenda. Understanding psychological and emotional abuse in faith settings is of increasing importance. This seminar firstly explored what Spiritual Abuse is, the impact it has on the individual and links between spiritual abuse and other forms of abuse. It then considered challenges for safeguarding policy and practice and report recent advances in these areas.

Dr Lisa Oakley is programme leader for the only undergraduate course in Abuse Studies in the UK based at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research is principally in the area of Spiritual abuse and safeguarding in faith based organisations. In 2013 Lisa co-authored a book entitled ‘Breaking the Silence on Spiritual Abuse’ this was published by Palgrave MacMillan and is the first book based on empirical research on this topic in the UK. Lisa has spoken extensively on the topic of spiritual abuse across the UK at national and international conferences. Lisa has taught in Higher Education for over 20 years.

Dr Alison Phipps: ‘Lad Culture and Sexual Violence’, SVDV seminar hosted at DMU (9 July 2015)

Alison-Phipps-with-book-coverOn 9 July 2015, SVDV hosted a research seminar on “Lad Culture” and Sexual Violence in Higher Education, presented by Dr Alison Phipps University of Sussex. The seminar workshop explored sexism, sexual harassment and violence at UK universities and the phenomenon of ‘lad culture’, which has been exposed by the NUS ‘That’s What She Said’ report and other research. ‘Lad culture’ is defined as a set of behaviours characterised by sexist banter and competitive sexual activity drawing upon normative gender roles and expectations. It may be engaged in by a minority of young men (and some women), but it has broad social and cultural reach via social media and the commodification of student cultures and nightlife. It can also be associated with the backlash against feminism and increased gender equality, and the competitive, individualistic cultures of higher education marketization. Issues around ‘lad culture’, its links to sexual violence and how to tackle were explored via a short presentation and interactive discussion, with a particular focus on actions which could be taken by managers, staff and students in future.

Dr Alison Phipps is co-author of the 2013 NUS report on lad culture entitled ‘That’s What She Said’, and is Director of Gender Studies at the University of Sussex. Her work focuses on the politics of gender and the body, in particular debates in the areas of violence, ‘deviance’, education, and health.

LGBT Community and Domestic Violence research networking event, hosted at DMU (24 September 2014)

(Pictured) Vanessa Bettinson of DMU’s Law School and Sarah Hilder of DMU’s Criminal and Community Justice Division were the academic co-hosts of De Montfort University’s colloquium on The LGBT Community and Domestic Violence. Challenges to Prevention, Protection and Intervention, in September 2014.

The day event featured a series of presentations and debate led by leading academics, professionals and campaigners

  • Raising awareness of the particular issues experienced by members of the LGBT community in relation to domestic violence and abuse.
  • The identification of regulatory and practical implementation challenges in relation to legal and policy provisions and the experiences of domestic violence by the LGBT community.
  • An evaluation of the extent to which sexual orientation is legitimately accommodated within legal structures, statutory and community based responses to domestic violence and abuse.
  • An exploration of how a proactive dialogue with LGBT community groups on the issue of domestic violence and abuse can be sustained

A discussion of possible frameworks that may be developed to continue research, policy and practice developments in this arena.

For abstracts and further information about this event, see:

Abstracts LGBT Event, 24 September 2014

Flyer for LGBT Event, 24 September 2014

Safeguarding and promoting well-being in the context of sexual violence and domestic violence Conference (4 November 2014)

Tuesday 4th November 2014 saw DMU host the 3rd annual Leicester City Council Children and Adults Safeguarding Boards Conference, on this year’s theme of Addressing Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence.

Pictured are Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister, Leicestershire Police, Vanessa Bettinson, DMU, and David Jones, Independent Chair of the Adult and Children’s Safeguarding Boards.

The event was run in partnership with the two safeguarding boards, RESPECT and the Business and Law and HLS Faculties at DMU. A welcome address was delivered by Dr Simon Oldroyd, the Acting Dean of the HLS faculty. Practitioners from across the city from services engaging with survivors and perpetrators of abuse attended, with a rich selection of workshops to choose from, including national agencies such as Coordinated Action for Domestic Abuse (CAADA) and Women’s Aid, to locally based providers such as SAFE and FreeVa.

DMU academics also contributed, sharing research findings and project ideas and many thanks to Josie Solomon, Annette Crisp, Diane Wensley, Myira Khan and Di Turgoose for their excellent inputs. Students from across the HLS and B&L faculties also attended and it was also great to see past graduates from the Criminology and the Probation programmes at De Montfort now established in various professional roles with the agencies represented.

Conference Details (PDF)

IDVC Interdisciplinary Domestic Violence Conference, hosted at DMU (16 December 2013)

The Interdisciplinary Domestic Violence Conference was a joint enterprise hosted between the Faculties of Business and Law, and Health and Life Sciences at De Montfort University, Leicester. It aims were to explore the challenges of securing prevention and protection for domestic violence victims in the legal arena, and to explore legal and community inter-agency relationships. It provided a forum which brought together community professionals, legal practitioners and academics in order to develop a co- operative network to improve communication links between these key stakeholders.

Keynote Speakers (pictured above) included: Rosa Logar, Director Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE), Mandy Burton Professor in Law, Leicester University, Siobhan Blake, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor (DCCP) of Cymru / Wales Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

For further information on this conference, see:

IDVC Conference Report (16 December 2013)

IDVC Conference flyer (16 December 2013)