Violence and its aftermath

With cross-cutting expertise in regulation and governance, our researchers are developing new understandings of violent crimes, why they happen and how they are policed.

Following a long history of research on domestic abuse going back to the pioneer feminist scholarship of former Professors Russell and Rebecca Dobash, our colleagues continue developing trend-setting research on violent crime across all sectors of society. 

Within this area of research, we have a particular focus on: 

  • the policing of violent crime; 
  • child to parent violence; 
  • understanding the aftermath of violence; 
  • the role of drugs and alcohol on violent crime.

Research projects

Early identification of honour-based abuse

Funder: N8 Policing Research Partnership 

Our research team 

  • Claire Fox – Senior Lecturer in Criminology (Principal Investigator) 
  • Caroline Miles – Senior Lecturer in Criminology (Co-Investigator) 
  • Becki Kaur  
  • Rebecca Tipton – Lecturer in Interpreting and Translation Studies 

In 2015, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (2015) released the first-ever inspection into the police responses to honour-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). The report concluded that ‘the police service has some way to go before the public can be fully confident that HBA is properly understood by the police and that potential and actual victims are adequately and effectively protected’ (HMIC, 2015: 8).

This project focused on the early identification of honour-based abuse cases, explored the responses of West Yorkshire Police (WYP) to victims of HBA, and forced marriage, highlighting the importance of early and accurate identification of such cases.  
The project brought together the University of Manchester, West Yorkshire Police, and Karma Nirvana to identify and explore the barriers to supporting victims of honour-based abuse, gaps in the current provision, and instances of good practice.

The overarching aims of this work were to increase the confidence in reporting, improve identification of HBA cases and police responses to them, therefore contributing to more effective safeguarding of vulnerable victims. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data, this research provides a much-needed evidence base to inform police practices, academic enquiry, policy-makers, and other practitioners who may come into contact with cases of HBA. 

Corpses of mass violence and genocide

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council 

Principal Investigator: Professor Elisabeth Anstett, Jean-Marc Dreyfus  
Criminology project member: Jon Shute 
In Europe, and all over the world, mass violence and genocides have been a structural feature of the 20th century.



Our research programme, Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide, was aiming at questioning the social legacy of mass violence by studying how different societies have coped with the first consequence of mass destruction: the mass production of cadavers.



What status and what value have indeed been given to corpses? 



What symbolic, social, religious, economic or political uses have been made of dead bodies in occupied Europe, the former Soviet Union, Bosnia, Spain but also Rwanda, Argentina or Cambodia, both during and after the massacres?



Bringing together perspectives of social anthropology, law and history, and raising the three main issues of destruction, research and identification, and return of human remains to society, this research programme directed by anthropologist Elisabeth Anstett (PI) and historian Jean-Marc Dreyfus, has enlightened how various social and cultural treatments of dead bodies simultaneously challenge common representations, legal practices and morality. 



Jon Shute was a Co-Investigator with interests in the body's place in the penology of state violence and the application of moral neutralisation theory to manifestations of denial and deniability. This research programme, which ran from February 2012 to January 2016, was financed through a grant from the European Research Council. 

Understanding and improving risk assessment on domestic abuse cases

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council

Principal Investigator: Juanjo Medina

Co-investigator: Caroline Miles

Project aim: This is an interdisciplinary research project led by The University of Manchester in collaboration with the Victoria University of Wellington and Chester University. The project aims to test statistical learning techniques to improve the accuracy of the predictions regarding risk classification by criminal justice actors, particularly police. Our ultimate goal is to develop a tested predictive model for domestic violence that could be piloted at a later stage. In doing so, it also aims to develop and engage in ethical and legal debates about the use of predictive modelling the context of policing.

The Development of Measures to Assess the Long-Term Support Needs of Adult Sexual Assault Survivors

Principal Investigator - David Gadd, 01/03/2020 - 28/02/2021

The proposed research aimed to lay the groundwork needed to facilitate the development of measures that would be used in a longitudinal study of adult sexual assault survivors’ support and service needs. Its focus was on the social, emotional and physical well-being of those who have previously disclosed assaults to Saint Mary’s SARC in Manchester.

In 1986 Saint Mary’s became the first SARC to be established in the UK, with an initial remit to provide a medico-legal response to sexual assaults. There are now over 40 SARCS in the UK. Saint Mary’s SARCs remains the busiest site, seeing over 1200 clients in 2018/9 for a forensic medical examination (FME). SARCs perform forensic medical examinations which involve the collection and preservation of forensic evidence which may be of use in future court cases.

Today, Saint Mary’s SARC has a unique service delivery model whereby it provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, ISVA and counselling service to males and females, children and adults who have reported sexual assault or rape. Most clients come to Saint Mary’s via the police, but about 10% of adults contact SARC directly and attend without police involvement. The project piloted a set of measures designed to assess how survivors’ needs are tempered and changed following access to support and service provision.

Find out more


News and highlights

Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21: Does the inclusion of 'relative' go far enough in addressing the issue of adolescent to parent violence? – Dr Caroline Miles examines the Domestic Abuse Bill as it receives its third reading in Parliament. 

Dr Caroline Miles joined BBC Midlands Evening News for a live interview on adolescent to parent violence (Dec 2021).