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Gender-based Violence Amongst Older People (Advert Ref: RDF18/SSL/DAVIES)

   Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences

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  Dr P Davies  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The project seeks to explore victimisation during an understudied period of the life-course. Dominant criminological research methodologies tend to truncate and contract the age range of those studied, leaving the elderly and unyoung under-researched and inadequately theorised criminologically and victimologically. This dearth of research on the elderly as victims of crime is particularly marked in the UK context and is surprising given the changing demographics and ageing nature of populations, which surely raises a range of interesting and important criminological and victimological questions. Taking homicide as an example, in the US context the term ‘eldercide’ is often used with reference to the killing of older people (Chu & Kraus, 2004). This term has not been used in the UK context to date but, as Roberts and Willits (2012: 185) point out, older victims of homicide ‘are likely to become more frequent in absolute terms, and represent a greater share of all homicides, as aging baby boomers create a much larger population of older adults’. Consequently, there is likely to be an ‘increasing prominence’ of elder homicide (Roberts and Willits, 2012, p.185). Though the project offers the opportunity to explore different types of violence that are experienced across the lifespan, the inquiry will specifically focus on Gender-based Violence Amongst Older People. Adopting a critical, yet sympathetic, approach, the inquiry will be contextualised within the life-course approach to studying crime and victimisation (Carlsson and Sarnecki 2016). It is anticipated that the inquiry will be steered towards the patterns of (sometimes-lethal) violence perpetrated against older women. The continuing experiences of domestic abuse into old age and the onset of it during older age is fairly absent in the domestic abuse literature and older women’s needs are not well served by specialist organisations which tend to focus on supporting young women to recognise coercive control and to leave violent partners. As the ageing population continues to grow, patterns of sexual violence and homicide amongst the elderly are worthy of much more criminological attention. The proposed research will draw on the ideas that criminology is age-limited (Cullen, 2011), biased towards a focus on those under the age of 59 and, at the older age end of the life-course, older people are subjected to ageist stereotypes linked to vulnerability and victimhood (Bows 2017). This project will commence from a victimological perspective. It starts from a position that sees the elderly as ignored in existing theoretical and empirical contributions to understanding violence against women and in the vast majority of studies of gender-based harms and violence. However, it will also explore further potential gender patterns to fatal violence that are thrown into sharp relief through for example, a close examination of the socio-economic demographics of fatal homicide. Using an innovative mixed method approach to the empirical research of this topic area, the research will explore invisible victims of bodily violence.

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.

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. RDF18/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 28 January 2018
Start Date: 1 October 2018

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers

Funding Notes

The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees


Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project:

Davies, P. and Biddle, P. (2017) ‘Implementing a perpetrator focused partnership approach to tackling domestic abuse: The opportunities and challenges of criminal justice localism’, Criminology & Criminal Justice. First Published October 15, 2017, DOI: 10.1177/1748895817734590.
Davies, P., Francis, P. and Greer, C. (eds) (2017) Victims, Crime and Society. Second edition. London: Sage.
Davies, P. (2018) ‘Feminist Voices, Gender and Victimisation’, in S.L. Walklate (ed) Handbook on Victims and Victimology. Second edition. London: Routledge. Pp107-123.
Davies, P., Francis, P. and Wyatt, T. (eds) (2014) Invisible Crimes and Social Harms. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Press, ‘Critical Criminological Perspectives Series’ edited by R Walters and D. Drake. ISBN978-1-137-34781-7.
Davies, P. (under review) ‘Children as Victims’, in a Special edition ‘Victim Identities and Hierarchies’. International Review of Victimology.
Bows, H. and Davies, P (submitted) ‘Elder homicide: Developing an evidence base on the gender patterning and characteristics of fatal violence amongst the elderly’. British Journal of Criminology.
Davies, P. ‘Gender different responses to child sexual abuse by non-offending family members’. Child Abuse & Neglect.