PIER offers an MPhil/PhD in Criminology. You can find out about four of our current PhD students and their research below.
Abbie Lake's research centres around the subject of sibling sexual abuse.
Cannelle Roumanie's research centres around the CSAE model relating to emergence of younger perpetrators (under 25s) and effects of peer-to-peer file sharing and engaging with platforms.
Joanne Traynor is a control room supervisor at Essex Police, carrying out a research study on police control rooms. She was a successful College Bursary applicant.
Joanne selected the subject of communications in the police control room as the topic of her PhD research from her experience and observations working in control rooms. She says:
"I was aware that information did not always flow through the force control room in a uniform way. As information was passed from caller to call handler and then to radio dispatch operator, it often appeared to undergo changes and alterations. In turn, incident logs often included alterations to both incident gradings and headers.
"My review of the literature revealed that policy makers and operational police officers usually assume that information flows in a linear manner, where each interaction does not impact or influence the next (Garner, Johnson 2006). I found there was no existing measure to indicate the accuracy, adequateness and relevance of incident log narratives and no framework to measure or compare forces' performance in this area.
Given that a proportion of crime undergoes desk-based investigation informed by the narrative of the incident log, the importance of ensuring incident log accuracy to record crime both precisely and efficiently (to avoid reclassification and duplication) is key to delivering a quality service with limited resources.
Being an expert practitioner is both an advantage and possible disadvantage when conducting research. While an academic needs to spend time immersing themselves in policing culture, I was already part of it.
"However, being part of policing culture can carry the risk of being blinkered and so it is essential to think reflectively, keep an open mind and constantly question assumptions. This continuous reflection can help you to become more aware of your own biases.
Ultimately, adopting reflection as part of an ethical approach to my research aimed to reduce the influence of my presence on the participants' behaviour. The ability to reflect honestly is the best tool to counterbalance these concerns."
Rhea Fernando Eversley's research centres around the subject of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), specifically self-generated images and how these relate to victim vulnerabilities.
Sam Wood's research centres around female perpetrators, specifically online and contact CSAE and models of offending.
Thien Trang Nguyen Phan is a third- year PhD student at PIER. Her doctoral research focuses on the abuse of parents by their adult children.
Although the UK government’s current definition of domestic abuse encompasses “any incident or pattern of incidents of […] violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members”, there has been a dearth of research into adult family violence, and in particular violence and abuse perpetrated by adult children against their parents.
Thien Trang’s research interest stems from over 12 years of experience in domestic abuse/violence against women, both in frontline and operational/strategic capacities, which had shown her that parents experiencing abuse from their adult children might face additional and unique challenges in seeking help and accessing support. Yet theirs had remained the missing voice in current domestic abuse research.
For her research project, Thien Trang has conducted in-depth interviews informed by the life story method with 11 parents (all mothers). Using Dialogic/Performance Narrative Analysis to help enrich her reading and understanding of these complex stories, she pays particular attention to the gendered aspects of filial abuse, which have significant implications for policy and practice.
Lottie Herriott is a third year PhD student at PIER. Her doctoral research focuses on assessing the impact of sexual history evidence on mock juror deliberations in rape trials.
Sexual history evidence is restricted at trial in England and Wales (S.41 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act, 1999) as it frequently used to incorrectly assert that: i) women who have previously consented to sex are more likely to consent in future, and ii) women considered ‘promiscuous’ are not credible witnesses.
However, research demonstrates that restrictions are routinely ignored, meaning such evidence remains prevalent at trial and often introduced as a means to discredit the complainant (Smith, 2018). The inclusion of this evidence at trial has been shown to correlate with decreased conviction rates (Kelly et al. 2006), and highlighted as a key area of inadequate victim treatment (McGlynn, 2017).
Yet despite high profile calls to reform the law on sexual history, there is a limited evidence-base on whether sexual history evidence adversely impacts on the jury, with just two studies available internationally (Catton, 1975 [Canada]; Schuller, 2002 [US]) which were limited in scope. Charlotte’s PhD is therefore first UK research to examine the impact of sexual history evidence on juries and the first worldwide to explore the content jury deliberations in relation to sexual history.
As research with ‘real’ juries is prohibited (Contempt of Court Act, 1981), Charlotte’s thesis draws on mock jury simulations to explore the impact of previous sexual behaviour with the defendant, on mock juror deliberations. It draws on a total 18 mock juries, using volunteer community participants and provides a crucial evidence base regarding juror interpretations of sexual history evidence.