Social, Criminal and Legal Justice Research Group

The group has an active programme of research exploring the relationship between gender inequality and crime and justice.

In particular we are interested in gendered and sexual violence and the statutory and non-statutory response to it. Recent research in the group has looked at criminal justice response to rape and sexual assault and in particular: the post-assault processing of cases; the problem of attrition; perceptions, attitudes and practices of criminal justice personnel including police officers, prosecutors, forensic medics and judges; and medico-legal interventions in rape and sexual assault.

We support PhD and postgraduate research. Current projects include: policing rape; stalking; criminal justice policy transfer in relation to violence; police initiatives to tackle youth crime; the legal defences available to women who kill violent partners; and rape as a war crime. We welcome PhD enquiries related to these research interests. You can also view open opportunities via our PhD search tool.

Key Projects

Understanding rape case loss in the judicial system

Lead by Professor Lesley McMillan, this Economic and Social Research Council-funded study – and subsequent work by GCU colleagues – focussed on the attrition, or loss, of rape cases in the criminal justice. The study looked at 408 rapes reported to Sussex police over the period of a year and tracked seven cases through the justice system. Professor McMillian conducted 85 in-depth interviews with serving police officers, forensic medical staff, crown prosecutors, barristers, judges and victims of rape.

Read more about this project

Improving the quality of Inter-personal Encounters between the Police and Citizens

Introducing the Principles of Procedural Justice into Police Training Programmes. Funding by Scottish Institute for Policing Research

Read more about this project

GCU Erase the Grey

There are no grey areas when it comes to gender-based violence. The campaign highlights the important work the University does to combat sexual and gender-based violence via a series of posters which challenge stereotypical views. Often described as ‘violence against women’, the term refers to violence directed against someone because of their gender and expectations of their role in a society or culture. Students and staff have worked together to create a digital poster campaign, entitled #GCUerasethegrey, which reiterates GCU’s zero-tolerance policy towards gender-based violence.

Read more about this project

Research group leader

Lesley McMillan, Professor of Criminology and Sociology