First, on Thursday 6th November, as part of the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice (IPSCJ) seminar series, I gave a paper entitled: ‘Supporting Those Indirectly Affected by Child Sexual Abuse’. This followed the IPSCJ inaugural seminar where several high profile speakers contributed and I was delighted though daunted to be next in line after such an auspicious beginning to the series.
As the title of my talk suggests it was sobering and serious, and according to the tweets – not that I’m a tweeter – ‘thought provoking’. At this talk I shared some original research findings from a research project that uniquely addresses the needs of, and support for, families of child sexual abuse. I discussed how a number of significant others – men, women and other children – are suffering as a consequence of a child/children experiencing abuse. I talked about the ‘ripple effect’ emanating from child sexual abuse and specifically focussed on the impact such offending and victimisation has on one indirect ‘victim’ group – non-abusing parents as well as grandparents, siblings, friends and teachers though the wider project also explored the experiences and impact on the friends and families of sex offenders. Drawing on my findings about who is affected and how, I discussed the insidious concept of ‘mother-blaming’, the diverting of attention from the perpetrator and I remarked upon one very unusual, new and small scale initiative called the Kelly Trust Project emerging from an organisation called GROW. I concluded by suggesting that gender sensitive research is essential in understanding the needs of those affected and for gender sensitive approaches to interventions and support.
The talk was well attended and included a range of delegates making astute observations and comments including Iain Britton – Chief Executive, Office of Police and Crime Commissioner, Northamptonshire, UK, as well as counsellors, practitioners, academics and students.
Do contact me directly if you’d like to learn more about the research projects that have informed this talk: email@example.com. Also contact the IPSCJ if you’d like to be on their distribution list or perhaps you’d like to offer a paper as part of their seminar series. Their next seminar is on 5th February 2015 when Jon Garland from the University of Surrey will discuss ‘Difference, Vulnerability and Prejudice: Key Findings from the Leicester Hate Crime Project’.
The second event Teaching Victimology: Innovations and Issues took place – very fittingly – on Armistice Day, Tuesday 11th November at Sheffield Hallam University where we were all observers of the Two Minute Silence. The British Society of Criminology (BSC) Networks for Learning & Teaching and Victims joined forces to host this one day event to explore and share good practice in the teaching of victimology. Following a welcome to Sheffield Hallam and the Department of Law and Criminology from Sital Dhillon, Dr Helen Jones, Chair of the Learning and Teaching Network, gave a very upbeat introduction urging us all to abide by her own three core simple but effective values: Ask, Be tenacious and Be kind! The day comprised a variety of sessions including: ‘Innovations’ where members of the criminology team from Sheffield Hallam discussed the teaching approaches that secured success in the 2014 BSC Excellence in Teaching Criminology Award, ‘Teaching Victimology and Professional Practice’ where Anne Robinson discussed ‘Probation Views on Victims and Victimisation’ and Liz Smart explored how to turn threats into opportunities in the provocatively titled paper ‘How swingeing legal aid cuts threatened the basic right of victim’s to seek legal redress and risked breaching their fundamental human rights’.
After a very tasty lunch from our Sheffield Hallam hosts I was proud to say a few words at a launch for a brand new book jointly co-authored by M. Duggan (University of Kent) and V. Heap (Sheffield Hallam University) (2014) Administrating Victimisation: The politics of anti-social behaviour and hate crime policy, London: Palgrave Pivot (with a Foreword by me!) After badly quoting what I remembered to be from Agatha Christie, ‘By the Pricking of my Thumbs Something Wicked this Way Comes’ (more accurately should have been Shakespeare) – which was my own summing up of the years of victim-policy they unpick in this book – I urged all to buy the book read it, ‘Cite Them Right’ and submit a book review for publication.
Two papers followed: ‘Teaching Victimology in a Global Context’ by Dr Bankole Cole (a Northumbria defector and now Reader at Sheffield Hallam University) and Marian Duggan’s brilliantly titled paper ‘The Only Victimologist in the Village? Rendering Victimology Relevant in Criminological Degrees’. Emerging as key themes were the victim-offender dyad, marginalisation and vulnerability, the limits to, and boundaries of, crime based discourse and, potential avenues for moving into and beyond a critical Victimology to a place which encompasses the global and international reach and significance of victimological agendas. Phew, after all of this we had fun taking part in a cake cutting extravaganza and indulged eating it. This is fast becoming a BSC Victims Network tradition and we multi-tasked in our cake tasting by also participating in a research café and roundtable where we gathered information about the challenges associated with teaching victimology and considered potential solutions to enhance victimology provision. The method used was via a ‘graffiti wall’ information gathering exercise. We produced plenty of food for further thought and with close to 40 very interested participants engaging in this event from the far flung reaches of north, south, east and west of England we look forward to continuing the dialogue and turning ideas into tangible projects. From Chairs of sessions, to presenters, authors, lecturers and PhD students alike, we were very excited to be part of this joint event.
Below are a few photos from the event:
Photos: Copyright Stephen Bulley
Do subscribe to the VICTIMS NETWORK jiscmail list to keep up to date and consider being part of the BSC Victims Network. Look out for the next BSC Victims Network Research Seminar Day: Future Directions in Victimology, on Wednesday 28th January at Lincoln Law School, University of Lincoln.