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  An analysis of the implementation issues within the family justice system towards domestic abuse survivors (Advert Reference: RDF22/BL/LHRM/HUSSEIN)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr R Hussein  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a project investigating the implementation issues, gaps and impact of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. 

This project builds on several issues identified as part of the government consultation which preceded the Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21. In particular, this project will expand upon a pilot study which highlighted the gaps identified between existing legislation and practices within the family law court system for the experiences and outcomes of domestic abuse survivors. We invite evaluation on the impact of the Domestic Abuse Act for domestic abuse survivors in the English family court system through one of the following lenses: 

  • How the offence of controlling/coercive behaviour is enacted regarding post separation abuse and the challenges with the current gaps present in the family law courts applying Practice Direction 12J.  
  • Evaluation of the domestic abuse perpetrator work and effectiveness of this programme on outcomes for survivors and their court process.  
  • A multi stakeholder approach to explore how a domestic abuse survivor can be supported whilst in court as the Act itself specifies that legislation is insufficient, and we need to look at the practices of each actor (GPs, local authorities and support services) in the system to implement the changes within the Act.  

Family justice studies are a key area of research focus within Northumbria Law School, as evidenced by the presence of the Family Justice Research Interest Group. Responsible practice is a key theme within Newcastle Business School, which is represented by the Responsible Business Research Interest Group. This project would bring together those two research areas into one focused project, centred around an investigation of responsible practice within the family justice system. As well as having a supervisory team with extensive research and practice experience in the areas of family justice studies and responsible practice, a PhD candidate would be welcomed into a thriving research community, receiving support from both RIGs and the GVARN network during their period of study and beyond. The supervisory team have extensive connections with domestic abuse support services which will aid this project.

The research may have an empirical, doctrinal, socio-legal, comparative, or theoretical focus but you should clearly articulate your proposed approach and methodology within your proposal.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF22/BL/LHRM/HUSSEIN) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Principal Supervisor – Rima Hussein

Business & Management (5) Law (22)

Funding Notes

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.
Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,365 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.
Please also read the full funding notes which include advice for international and part-time applicants.


1. Hussein, R. (under review) ‘Locked down? Speaking from the shadows and silence of violence for survival’, Gender, Work and Organization.
2. Speed, A., Richardson, K., Thomson, C., & Coapes, L. (2021). Covid-19 and the family courts: key practitioner findings in applications for domestic violence remedy orders. Child and Family Law Quarterly, 33(3), 215-236. [CFLQ 215].
3. Speed, A, Thomson, C and Richardson, K. ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives? An Analysis of The Impact of Covid-19 on the Ability of Victims of Gender-Based Violence to Access Justice’, The Journal of Criminal Law (Sage, 2020)
4. Richardson, K. ‘The Court System in England and Wales,’ Book chapter in: An Introduction to Criminology (Sage, 2020).
5. Richardson, K. and Speed, A. ‘Two Worlds Apart: A Comparative Analysis of the Effectiveness of Domestic Abuse Law and Policy in England and Wales and the Russian Federation’ 2019, The Journal of Criminal Law, doi: 10.1177/0022018319858478

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