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Women, domestic abuse and the criminal justice system: How can we enable women to exercise control’ in the context of no control?’

Project Description

Project reference number: GSBS-2019-100


Scotland’s gender based approach to domestic abuse policy has been identified as an exemplar (Lombard and Whiting 2017).

Women experiencing domestic abuse have much of the control over their own lives taken from them and often are unable to (or simply chose not to) engage with the criminal justice system. It is important to understand the barriers that prevent women from seeking help from statutory services whilst also recognising the mechanisms that engage women to do so. For those women who have sought support from the criminal justice system it is critical that they were able to exercise some control when coming from a context of having none (Stark, 2007).

Aims and Objectives

The main aim of the proposed research study is to engage women (as victims – survivors of domestic abuse) who have been involved with the criminal justice system in discussions about their experiences. In doing so the objectives of the study are:
• To find innovative, ethical, and safe ways to explore issues relating to women’s experiences of the criminal justice system
• To develop innovative research methodologies that bring to the fore their lived experience of engaging with or choosing not to engage with different aspects of the criminal justice system.
• Examine how, through their involvement at each stage of the criminal justice system, they were given control; able to exercise control or experienced a loss of control
• To identify the ways in which positive experiences of women can be shared by others in similar situations – for example those women who wish to (but have been unable to) access the criminal justice system

Supervisor Research Profiles

Director of Studies: Dr Nancy Lombard
GCU Research Online URL:

2nd Supervisor: Katy Proctor
GCU Research Online URL:

3rd Supervisor: Mhairi McGowan (Advisor)
Service Co-ordinator ASSIST

How to apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2019

To apply for this project, use the following link to access the online application form, as well as further information on how to apply:

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four weeks from the closing date.

Please send any other enquiries regarding your application to:

Funding Notes

Exceptional candidates will be put forward for the scholarship competition. The Scholarship packages available include fully funded studentships and fees only scholarships. The fully funded studentships are worth £19,300 per year for 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress. They cover payment of tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £14,800.

For further details on funding see View Website

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