Forthcoming events

Young abuse survivors’ perspectives on improving their justice journeys

Date and time: This event has been postponed

Venue: TBC

Speaker: Dr Claire Houghton (University of Edinburgh) and the Everyday Heroes Partnership 


Previous Events

Behind Glass Walls: Gendered barriers to justice for women experiencing domestic abuse

Date and time: Friday 15th November. 2019 

Venue: Yudo Seminar Room, Woolfson Building, University of Glasgow

Speaker: Emma Forbes (SCCJR, University of Glasgow)


ACEs: Through a feminist lens

Date and time: Monday 16th September, 1-2.15pm

Venue: Yudo Seminar Room, Woolfson Building, University of Glasgow

Speaker: Professor Jane Callaghan (University of Stirling)


GBV Research Forum and QRaG Seminar

The challenges (and successes) of using an arts-based qualitative research approach with women who have lived experience of gender-based violence

Date and time: Tuesday 26th March, 1-2pm

Venue: Room 916, Adam Smith Building

Speaker: Nicola Dickson (School of Education, University of Glasgow)


This seminar draws upon my PhD research, which considers how the provision of arts-based, adult learning sessions might impact on the perceived recovery journeys of young women following the trauma of abuse. In 2018, I undertook fieldwork in the city-centre offices of a charity which supports survivors of sexual violence and abuse. My research participants had all experienced childhood sexual abuse, sexual violence and recent homelessness. In the seminar, I would like speak about the challenges involved in undertaking qualitative research with women who have lived experience of gender-based violence and the innovative approaches I adopted to tackle resistance and re-engage the participants. I would also like to share my observations on this research and highlight the highs and lows of undertaking fieldwork with vulnerable women who have experienced sexual violence and abuse.

Short biography

I am a part-time PhD student and a mum to three young children. Before returning to academia in 2016, I worked as a social researcher for the private and public sector. For over 15 years I designed and delivered qualitative research projects with so-called ‘vulnerable’ groups, including people with mental and physical health issues, drug and alcohol users, homeless people and BME communities. In my twenties, I volunteered as a visual artist and facilitator at various community arts organisations. I have always enjoyed drawing and painting, photography and making 3D sculptures in wire and clay. My PhD research entwines my interests in using the visual arts and employing qualitative research approaches to explore the experiences of vulnerable women.

QRaG is a new initiative to promote advanced qualitative methods and research via seminars open to all.  


Seminar with Rebecca Helman, 'Whose rapes matter?'

Time: Tuesday 5th June, 10-11am 

Venue: The Gannochy, Wolfson Medical School Building, University of Glasgow

In this seminar Rebecca, a Visiting Commonwealth Researcher at the University of Edinburgh, drew upon autoethnographic and interview data to address the question of ‘whose rapes matter’? She explored the processes by which certain instances of sexual violence come to be regarded as more damaging and abhorrent than others, and therefore the processes by which some ‘rape victims’ are positioned as more deserving of care and support. This seminar was organised by the University of Glasgow GBV Research Forum, the Scottish GVBRN and SCCJR.

Gender Based Violence Research Forum meeting:

The forum met on Tuesday 5th June, 11:15am-12:15pm. 

SCCJR and GBVRF Seminar:

Nughmana Mirza, SCCJR, University of Glasgow

'South Asian women's experience of abuse by female affinal kin: a critique of mainstream conceptualisations of 'domestic abuse'

Time: 12:30-2:00pm, Tuesday 10th October 2017

Venue: Adam Smith Research Foundation Seminar Room, 66 Oakfield Avenue (opposite the Gannochy Sports Building)


Mainstream conceptualisations of domestic abuse that focus on an intimate relationship within a nuclear household do not reflect the experiences of abuse of many women, and this is particularly evident when exploring South Asian women’s experiences of family abuse. Drawing on the experiences of Pakistani Muslim women interviewed for my doctoral research, I elucidate the role of the mother-in-law in instigating and perpetrating abuse against daughters-in-law. The sociocultural norms in extended family households, such as preference for sons and maintaining a joint virilocal household, can cause tensions and hostility between mothers- and daughters-in-law. These tendencies have potential for violence that is best understood as everyday practices of power and control. 

SCCJR and GBVRF Seminar:

Isla Callander, School of Law, University of Glasgow

'Consensual Sexual Behaviour Between Adolescents:  Improving the Statutory Framework in Scotland'

Wednesday 21st June 2017


This paper examines whether the current statutory approach to regulating consensual sexual behaviour between adolescents in Scotland is appropriate. At present, all consensual sexual intercourse and oro-genital sexual activity between two ‘older children’, defined as those aged 13 to 15, is criminalised under section 37 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009. This paper gives an overview of the nature of this legislation, and then contextualises section 37 against the relatively widespread occurrence of these activities amongst older children and the very limited number of prosecutions under the provision in practice. In assessing whether the current approach is appropriate, relevant public health research and aspects of research into adolescent psychology and neurological development are integrated with the principles that should normatively inform criminalisation decisions and doctrinal legal discussions. Overall, it is argued that, while there are good public policy reasons to encourage older children to delay engaging in sexual intercourse and oro-genital sexual activity, the current blanket approach taken by the criminal law in Scotland is overly broad. The legal approaches taken to consensual sexual intercourse between adolescents in other common law jurisdictions are also discussed, as a means to identify possible approaches that Scotland might follow in preference to the current law. These approaches are drawn upon to advocate a more refined approach in the substantive law in Scotland that criminalises consensual sexual intercourse and oro-genital sexual activity involving older children only where there is a substantial age difference between the participants or where there is otherwise evidence of exploitation. It is argued that the refined approach would safeguard adolescents against exploitation without automatically criminalising significant numbers of adolescents for their consensual sexual behaviour.

Member publications

Sexual violence

Brooks-Hay, O. (2020) Doing the “right thing”? Understanding why rape victim-survivors report to the police. Feminist Criminology, 15(2), pp. 174-195. (doi: 10.1177/1557085119859079)

Burman, M. and Brooks-Hay, O. (2020) Feminist framings of victim advocacy in criminal justice contexts’ in P. Davies and Tapley, J. (eds.) Victimology: Research, Policy and Activism. Palgrave Macmillan.

Brooks-Hay, O, Burman, M. and Bradley, L. (2019) Justice Journeys: Informing policy and practice through lived experience of victim‐survivors of rape and serious sexual assault. SCCJR Research Report 04/2019.

Burman, M. and Brooks-Hay, O. (2018) Victims are more willing to report rape, so why are conviction rates still woeful? Conversation, 8 March 2018.

Brooks-Hay, O, Burman, M., Bradley, L. and Kyle, D (2018). Evaluation of the Rape Crisis Scotland National Advocacy Project: Final Report. SCCJR Research Report.

Brooks, O. and Burman, M. (2017) Reporting rape: victim perspectives on advocacy support in the criminal justice process. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 17(2), pp. 209-225. (doi:10.1177/1748895816667996)

Brooks, O., Burman, M. and Kyle, D. (2015) Evaluation of Support to Report Pilot Advocacy Service: Summary Report. Project Report. SCCJR Briefing Paper 1/2015, Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research, Glasgow.

Chalmers, J. (2014) Independent legal representation for complainers in sexual offence cases. In: Chalmers, J., Leverick, F. and Shaw, A. (eds.) Post-Corroboration Safeguards Review Report of the Academic Expert Group. The Scottish Government: Edinburgh, pp. 185-189.

Brooks, O. (2014) Rising rape figures in Scotland could actually be a step forward. Conversation,

Brooks, O. (2014) Interpreting young women's accounts of drink spiking: the need for a gendered understanding of the fear and reality of sexual violence. Sociology, 48(2), pp. 300-316. (doi:10.1177/0038038512475108)

Brooks-Hay, O., Burman, M. and McFeely, C. (eds.) (2018) Domestic Abuse: Contemporary Perspectives and Innovative Practices. Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press.

Brooks-Hay, O. and Lombard, N. (2018) ‘Home game’: domestic abuse and football, Journal of Gender-Based Violence, Vol 2 (1): 93–108.

Burman, M. and Brooks-Hay, O. (2018) Aligning policy and law? The creation of a domestic abuse offence incorporating coercive control. Criminology and Criminal Justice. Vol. 18(1): 67–83.

Garcia-Moreno C, Mitchell K, Wellings K. (2012) Sexual violence. In K. Wellings, K. Mitchell, M. Collumbein (Eds) Sexual Health: A public health perspective.  Oxford University Press.

Brindley, S. and Burman, M. (2011)  ‘Meeting the Challenge? Responding to Rape in Scotland’  In: N.Westmarland & G. Ganjoli ( Eds) International  Approaches to Rape Bristol: Policy Press ISBN 9781847426208

Chalmers, J. (2010) The New Law of Sexual Offences in Scotland. W. Green, 2010: Edinburgh, Scotland.

Burman, M. (2009) 'Evidencing Sexual Assault: Women in the Witness Box'. Probation Journal, 56 (4), 379 -398.

Burman, M., Jamieson, L., Nicholson, J. and Brooks, O. (2007) Impact of Aspects of the Law of Evidence in Sexual Offence Trials: An Evaluation Study. Project Report. Scottish Executive Social Research.

Domestic abuse

Willimson, E., Lombard,N. and Brooks-Hay, O.  (2020) Domestic violence and abuse, coronavirus, and the media narrative. Journal of Gender-Based Violence.

Chantler, K., Baker, V., MacKenzie, M., McCarry, M., & Mirza, N. (2017) Understanding Forced Marriage in Scotland, [online], The Scottish Government, Social Research: Equality, Poverty and Social Security. Available from:

Gravningen K, Mitchell K, Wellings K, Johnson AM, Geary R, Jones KG, Clifton S, Erens B, Lu M, Chayachinda C, Field F, Sonnenberg S, Merc  er CH.(2017) Reported reasons for Breakdown of Marriage and Cohabitation in Britain: Findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3). PLoS ONE 12(3): e0174129.

Mirza, N. (2016) The UK government’s conflicting agendas and ‘harmful’ immigration policies: Shaping South Asian women’s experiences of abuse and ‘exit’, Critical Social Policy, 36(4): 592-609. Available from:

Mirza, N. (2016) South Asian women’s experience of family abuse: The role of the husband’s mother. [online], Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, Briefing 80. Available from:

Brooks, O. and Kyle, D. (2015) Dual Reports Of Domestic Abuse Made To The Police In Scotland: A Summary Of Findings From A Pilot Research Study.SIPR Research Summary No 23, Scottish Institute for Policing Research, Dundee. 

Mirza, N. (2015) South Asian women’s experience of abuse by female affinal kin: a critique of mainstream conceptualisations of ‘domestic abuse’, Families, Relationships and Societies. [online], In Press. Available from:

Mirza, N. (2015) South Asian women’s experience of family abuse: Exploring the police response. [online], Scottish Institute for Policing Research, Research Summary No: 21. Available from:

Crowley, A., Brooks, O. and Lombard, N. (2014) Football and Domestic Abuse: A Literature Review. Project Report. Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, Glasgow.

McFeely, C., Whiting, N., Lombard, N., Brooks, O., Burman, M. and McGowan, M. (2013) Domestic abuse and gender inequality: an overview of the current debate. Other. Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Goodall, C. and Welbury, R., 2013. What is the role of a dentist in the management of suspected non-accidental injury to the face, head and neck?. In An Introduction to Forensic Odontology., Publisher: Quintessence India, India, Editors: G.H.Moody, pp.175-187

Neville, F.G., Goodall, C.A., Williams, D.J. and Donnelly, P.D., 2014. Sexual assault and harassment, perceived vulnerability, and association with alcohol use in a student population: a cross-sectional survey. The Lancet, 384, p.S56.

Goodall CA (2015). Preventing violence through interventions in the health system. In Donnelly, P.D. and Ward, C.L. eds., 2015. Oxford textbook of violence prevention: Epidemiology, evidence, and policy. Oxford Textbooks in Public Health.

Goodall CA Donnelly PD Boyden P Scott-Park Freda (2014) Making the link: Training veterinary professionals to recognise and respond to human and animal victims of domestic abuse. Presented at APHA New Orleans 2014



Kyle, D. (2016) Examining sexual offences through a sociological lens: A socio-cultural exploration of causal and desistance theories, European Journal of Probation, 8(3): 170-184

Brooks, O., Burman, M., Lombard, N., McIvor, G., Stevenson-Hasgings, L. and Kyle, D. (2014) Violence Against Women: Effective Interventions and Practices with Perpetrators: A Literature Review. SCCJR Research Report No. 05/2014, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, Glasgow.



Brooks, O. (2011) 'Guys! Stop doing it!': young women's adoption and rejection of safety advice when socializing in bars, pubs and clubs. British Journal of Criminology, 51(4), pp. 635-651. (doi:10.1093/bjc/azr011)


Gender Equality

Burman, M. and Gelsthorpe, L. (2017) Feminist criminology: inequalities, powerlessness, and justice. In: Liebling, A., Maruna, S. and McAra, L. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 213-238. ISBN 9780198719441

Burman, M., and Johnstone, J. (2015) High hopes? The gender equality duty and its impact on responses to gender-based violence. Policy and Politics. Volume 43 No. 1. pp45-60. (doi:10.1332/030557312X655846)

McFeely, C., Whiting, N., Lombard, N., Brooks, O., Burman, M. and McGowan, M. (2013) Domestic abuse and gender inequality: an overview of the current debate. Other. Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.



Macdowall W, Gibson L, Tanton C, Mercer C, Lewis R, Clifton S, Field N, Mitchell, K. et al. (2013) Lifetime prevalence, associated factors, and circumstances of non-volitional sex in women and men: Findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) The Lancet;382:1845-1855


Young people

Featherstone, B., Morris, K., Daniel, B., Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Bunting, L., Mason, W & Mirza, N. (2017) Poverty, inequality, child abuse and neglect: Changing the conversation across the UK in child protection? Children and Youth Services Review 10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.06.009. Available from:

Chalmers, J. (2011) Regulating adolescent sexuality: English and Scottish approaches compared. Child and Family Law Quarterly, 23(4), pp. 450-464.

Burman, M., Brown. J., and Batchelor, S. (2011) ‘Researching girls and violence: facing the dilemmas of fieldwork’ in M. Chesney-Lind and M. Morash (eds) Feminist Theories of Crime The Library of Essays in Theoretical  Criminology. Ashgate

Mitchell K. & Wellings K. (2002) The role of ambiguity in sexual encounters between young people in England. Culture, Health and Sexuality;4(4):393-408


Other publications

Ingabire MC, Mitchell K, Veldhuijen N, Umulisa MM, Nyinawabega J, Kestelyn E, Van Steijn M, Van de Wijgert J, Pool R. (2012) Joining and leaving sex work: Experiences of women in Kigali, Rwanda. Culture, Health and Sexuality;14(9);1037-47

Member biographies

Rebecca Averill is a postgraduate student on the Criminology and Criminal Justice MSc. I am interested in developing my dissertation around the topic of gender and violence, women as perpetrators and as victims. Other areas of interest include honour-based abuse, forced marriage, coercive control, domestic abuse, sentencing and punishment, and gender socialisation. 

Dr Susan Batchelor is a Senior Lecturer based in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. Her research interests centre around the intersections of gender, generation, culture and crime and include: the strengths and limitations of gendered accounts of violence; approaches to working with girls and young women who offend; women and risk; girls and gangs. The majority of Susan’s academic publications relate to young women as victims and perpetrators of violence, but she has also conducted research on: young people’s attitudes towards sexual violence (Zero Tolerance); teenage sexuality and the media (HEBS); and, alcohol and domestic abuse (RCA). 

Carolyn Blake, Research Associate (MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit)

Lisa Bradley is a Research Associate in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. Currently she is working as part of a team, evaluating a Rape Crisis project designed to provide advocacy support for survivors of rape and sexual assault. Prior to this she has worked as a researcher in areas of policing and domestic abuse. Throughout all her work is a focus on issues of social justice and inequality, specifically from the perspective of ontological politics that often go unseen and unimagined. In this regard she is particularly interested in the ways and spaces in which knowledge is produced between actors, and the ways in which that knowledge, in turn, shapes the social relationships and interactions that are then possible.

Oona Brooks-Hay is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology based within the Sociology subject area and the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR). She has worked as a researcher and practitioner in the field of gender-based violence for over twenty years. Recent research includes projects focusing creative representations of rape victim-survivor experiences of the criminal justice process, rape advocacy, and frontline responses to domestic abuse across Europe. Oona is the editor of Domestic Abuse: Contemporary Perspectives and Innovative Practices (2018, Dunedin Academic Press) with colleagues Michele Burman and Clare McFeely.

Michele Burman is Professor of Criminology. She has substantial specialist knowledge and expertise in the area of gender, crime and criminal justice, in particular in relation to sexual offences and violence against women. She has conducted theoretical and policy-related research for a range of funding bodies (e.g. the ESRC, the British Academy, NHS Health Scotland, Scottish Government and the European Commission). Her recent projects include a Rape Crisis Scotland/Police Scotland funded evaluation of the  National Rape Advocacy Project in Scotland (with Oona Brooks-Hay, Lisa Bradley and Debbie Kyle). 

James Chalmers works in the School of Law and carries out research in the areas of criminal law, evidence and procedure, including court processes. In particular, he has worked on the reform of sexual offences law and the use of victim statements in criminal proceedings.

Lindsay Farmer works on the history and theory of criminal law. He has a particular interest in legal responses to sexual and gender violence. He is the author, most recently, of Making the Modern Criminal Law. Criminalization and Civil Order (Oxford, 2016).

Emma Forbes is a Scottish Justice Fellow and Senior Prosecutor within the Domestic Abuse Court in Glasgow.  Previous roles include implementation of the Domestic Abuse court in Glasgow; representation of Scottish interests in cross-border prosecutions and human-trafficking policy at Eurojust in The Hague; and, policy focus on sexual offences and victim strategy within COPFS. Her PhD was titled “The Challenge of Criminalisation: Perception and Reality for Victims of Domestic Abuse.”

Ruth Friskney is based in SCCJR as a research associate on the European funded project. IMPRODOVA: Improving frontline responses to high impact domestic violence at the University of Edinburgh, she has been working on Improving Justice in Child Contact, a five country European project seeking to enhance children’s participation in decisions that affect them. Ruth also works part-time at the University of Stirling on Constructions of children and parents during the reform of family law in Scotland, a project looking at discourses around domestic abuse and families during the parliamentary process of the Children (Scotland) Act 2020.

Jenn Glinski is a first-year PhD student in the Urban Studies department. Her PhD research focuses on understanding the role and nature of financial barriers to leaving an abusive relationship and on exploring how women’s personal financial situations prior and post leaving are likely to be affected by key social security policies in Scotland and the UK. The working title of her PhD is ‘Careful calculus’ in its structural and policy context: what does it cost to leave an abusive relationship? 

Christine Goodall is Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Oral Surgery based in the Dental School. She has research interests in the epidemiology of violence, violence prevention and interventions for violence and alcohol in clinical settings, particularly trauma clinics. She founded Medics against Violence, a violence prevention charity in 2008 and as part of that developed a training (Ask Support Care) around domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault for those working in health and other front facing roles where they may encounter those experiencing abuse. 

Mo Hume is a Senior Lecturer in Politics. Her research focuses on how multiple and overlapping forms of violence are perceived by those who live in contexts of chronic insecurity. She has applied the insights from feminist theory and practice for understanding violent processes and women¹s responses to these. This involves detailed research on violence against women, as well as a situated exploration of the wider gendered politics of violence. She has carried out extensive fieldwork in Central America.

Poppy Jeffery is a postgraduate student on the Equality and Human Rights MSc, and has a particular interest in the uses of intersectional frameworks for analysing the ways GBV can be racialised. Having been inspired by her modules ‘Sexualities and Society’ and ‘Racial Justice and The City’, she is beginning to work on her dissertation research which will explore GBV within the context of de-colonial studies.

Natalie Jenkins is a research assistant with the Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group and Centre for Dementia Prevention (University of Edinburgh) with an interest in domestic abuse and dementia risk.

Fiona Leverick, Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice (School of Law)

Mhairi Mackenzie works in the field of health inequalities with a particular interest in researching discourses of health and its social determinants. She also conducts research within the arena of gender based violence and is concerned with how structural factors play out in the microlevel encounters that women experiencing abuse have with service providers.

Jane Mair, Professor of Private Law (School of Law)

Clare McFeely is a lecturer in Nursing & Health Care, MVLS.  Clare is interested in gender based violence as a public health issue, health service responses to survivors (primarily of domestic abuse) and in introducing GBV to the undergraduate curriculum. Prior to working at the University of Glasgow Clare worked in a range of roles within the NHS, originally as a midwife and latterly as research manager on the Scottish Government National GBV & Health programme.

Rachel McPherson, Lecturer in Criminal Law (School of Law)

Nughmana Mirza is a lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow, based in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. Her main research interests relate to South Asian women’s experiences of family abuse at the macro- and micro-level. Her research focuses on the interplay of variable such as kinship patterns and norms, the importance of gender and gender roles, and state policy in shaping women’s experiences of abuse and exit. Recent research includes a focus on policing response to domestic abuse in South Asian communities in the UK. 

Kirstin Mitchell is a Senior Research Fellow at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Institute of Health and Wellbeing. She is a social scientist specialising in sexual health and is interested in links between sexual violence, gender inequality, and sexual health outcomes (including sexually transmitted infections and sexual function). Kirstin is currently collaborating with Rape Crisis, Zero Tolerance and Glasgow Caledonian University, to develop and evaluate a Whole-Schools approach to addressing gender-based violence in secondary schools.

Elly Nowell is a Leverhulme funded PhD student currently researching criminal law reform. She is jointly supervised by the School of Law and the SCCJR. Her working title is 'Criminal statistics and the development of sexual offences'. 

Barbara Read, Reader in Gender and Social Inequalities, School of Education

Helen Sweeting started work at the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit (SPHSU) within the Youth and Health Programme in late 1990, and she has a longstanding interest in influences on young people's health and health behaviours. Helen is currently involved in collaborative work between SPHSU, Rape Crisis, Zero Tolerance and Glasgow Caledonian University, to refine, pilot, deliver and evaluate a Whole-Schools approach to addressing gender-based violence and sexual harassment in Scottish secondary schools.

Matthew Waites, Reader in Sociology, School of Social and Political Sciences

Daniel Wight is a Programme Leader in the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow.  He originally studied social anthropology but has subsequently engaged with a wide spectrum of social science disciplines. His empirical research has involved Scottish working class culture, especially regarding masculinity and employment, young people’s sexual health in Scotland and sub-Saharan Africa, and parent-child relationships in both areas. For the last few years he has been working with Ugandan colleagues on the development of a community based parenting intervention (‘Parenting for Respectability’) for the early prevention of familial factors associated with subsequent gender based violence.

Ulku Baturoglu Balci Ulku is a PhD researcher in Sociology at the University of Glasgow, based in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR). Her PhD research, titled “Constituting Violence: Women’s Experiences of Violence in Rural Scotland”, aims to understand how women experience and negotiate gender-based violence within the social, cultural and spatial context of rural localities.