Gendered Violence and Restorative Justice

   School of Applied Sciences

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  Dr Estelle Zinsstag, Dr J Buchan, Dr Marie Keenan  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The project aims to bring together two very timely and important areas of research, namely gendered violence and restorative justice, which currently spark debate here in Scotland and beyond, but which practice is in quite high demands by victims/survivors as we know from previous research (see eg. McGlynn et al, 2012; Zinsstag & Keenan, 2017).

By gendered violence, we understand any type of violence committed against someone because of their gender, including sexual violence (rape, sexual assault, molestation etc. whether historical or not, within a family context or not, on campus or within institutions and conflicts), domestic violence, forced marriages, sexual harassment at work, up skirting, etc.

Restorative justice is a way to respond to a crime in a more humane way, including all stakeholders in its resolution. We do not understand it is an alternative to the criminal justice system although it may replace it in some instances, since as is well-known, the attrition rates concerning this type of crime are staggering and, in some cases, victims chose to go down this route (by choice or by default) to achieve some sense of justice. Restorative justice is understood in many ways, and a number of debates have emerged about the best approach for this type of violence, which we hope can be explored in the project here.

The overarching aim of the project is to conduct a (or potentially two) qualitative projects on the wide topic of gendered violence and restorative justice. As there are many facets of this topic that need research, we thought to list a few areas that we would be interested to supervise: this project could be eg an exploration and/or evaluation of a specific practice, or programme, in Scotland or internationally. Alternatively it could also eg examine comparatively what the barriers are to such an approach here and in other contexts or evaluate the outcomes of specific initiatives, which is an area that is particularly underresearched at the moment. 

The supervisory team is composed of Dr Estelle Zinsstag (Lecturer in Criminology /Senior researcher at KU Leuven/Belgium), Dr Jamie Buchan (Lecturer in Criminology), we are both based in the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University and Associate Professor Marie Keenan (Social Work/ UCD/ Ireland). This project offers a unique opportunity to study practices which are still at an early stage in most coutries but in much demand by the main stakeholders everywhere. This is a study with potentially much impact. 

We look forward hearing from you. We welcome full-time and part-time applications. If you are applying for funding, please do so before contacting us, as only candidates with secured funding will be considered.


Academic qualifications

A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in criminology, law, gender studies, psychology or social sciences with a good fundamental knowledge of qualitative research methods.

 English language requirement

IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

 Essential attributes:

·        Experience of fundamental qualitative research methods

·        Competent in interviewing, focus groups, narrative criminology, comparative criminology or ethnography

·        Knowledge of restorative justice and of gender violence (sexual violence and/or domestic violence)

·        Good written and oral communication skills

·        Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project

·        Good time management

 Desirable attributes:

- Specialised knowledge of either gendered violence generally, or sexual violence (campus sexual violence, stranger rape, historical sexual violence etc) or domestic violence (intimate partner violence, family violence etc)

- Experience working with survivors of gendered violence

- Understanding of feminist theory, feminist criminology, and broader gender studies

Please quote reference SAS0152 on the application

To apply, please click on the ‘Institution Website’ link on the right-hand side of this page


• Completed application form

• CV

• 2 academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (Found on the application process page)

• A personal research statement (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of

what you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction.)

• Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)

Law (22) Psychology (31) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

Self-funding applicants


Daly, K. (2006a). Restorative justice and sexual assault: an archival study of court and conference cases. The British Journal of Criminology, 46(2), 334-356.
Keenan, M. & Zinsstag, E. (2014). Restorative justice and sexual offenses: can ‘changing lenses’ be appropriate in this case too? Monatschrift fuer Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform, 97(1), 93-106.
Keenan, M., Zinsstag, E. & O’Nolan, C. (2016). Sexual violence and restorative practices in Belgium, Ireland and Norway: a thematic analysis of country variations. Restorative Justice: An International Journal, 4(1), 86-114.
Koss, M. (2013). The RESTORE program of restorative justice for sex crimes: vision, process and outcomes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29(9), 1623-1660.
McGlynn, C., Westmarland, N. & Godden, N. (2012). ‘I just wanted him to hear me’: sexual violence and the possibilities of restorative justice. Journal of Law and Society, 39(2), 213-240.
Ptacek, J. (ed.) (2010). Restorative justice and violence against women. New York: Oxford University Press.
Westmarland, N., McGlynn, C. & Humphreys, C. (2018). Using restorative justice approaches to police domestic violence and abuse. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 2(2), 339-358.
Zinsstag, E. & Keenan, M. (eds.) (2017). Restorative responses to sexual violence: legal, social and therapeutic dimensions. London: Routledge.