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Gendered harassment in public and the potential for a ‘zero-tolerance’ culture.

Leverhulme Trust (2020 - 2024)

This 3-year project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, and looks at lay experiences of and attitudes to gendered harassment in public spaces in the UK, focusing on socio-cultural and contextual factors. Existing research suggests that sexual harassment in public is a universal phenomenon, disproportionately experienced by women as victims and men as perpetrators (Stanko, 1990), leading to its characterization as a gendered form of violence (Vera-Gray, 2016).

Although violence against women has been studied extensively, the focus has been overwhelmingly on the domestic and work environments. Only recently has sexual harassment in public attracted more academic, political and media attention, with emerging research suggesting that it is a pervasive form of violence against women (ibid.). Therefore, this project aims to develop a systematic approach to the theorization and measurement of the phenomenon, examining its sociocultural and contextual explanatory parameters, with emphasis on gender identities and public spaces.

Methodologically, the project utilizes triangulation of quantitative methodologies, combining survey and experimental data. The project seeks to develop a systematic approach to the empirical exploration of gendered harassment, looking at its multiple manifestations from a gendered perspective.

It also seeks to investigate the degree of its normalization in the understudied context of urban public spaces. Conceptualizing harassment as part of a continuum of gendered violence and inequality, the ultimate goal is to produce data that will contribute to a ‘zero-tolerance’ culture to gendered harassment in public spaces. Read more

Crime information and its impact on public attitudes.

LSE STICERD (2020 - 2023)

This research is funded by the LSE's Suntory and Toyota International Centre for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD), and looks at the impact of crime information on fear of crime. More specifically, the key research question is: What is the impact of different types of crime information and its processing on affective, behavioural and cognitive attitudes to the crime-risk? Crime is an important discursive subject within political, cultural and societal contexts, encompassing stereotypes, normative assessments, images of criminals and victims. Publicly available crime information can thus determine how people view, experience and react to the risk of crime.

The timeliness of this project relates to the fact that in the era of ‘fake news’ and with the immense increase of media channels in recent years, the public are exposed to mixed-quality information about social phenomena, such as crime, which can be highly politicized, sensationalized and often lacking in direct knowledge. Criminological research has shown that as crime narratives in the media are more market-driven than data-driven, the information that they disseminate can be distorted, negatively affecting people’s perceptions of the crime-risk, and thus individual and collective wellbeing.

This research takes into account the pluralism of crime information that exists today, exploring crime statistics, crime news and crime fiction, and their impact on public attitudes to crime. The experimental methodology of the study enables the exploration of causal associations between crime information and public attitudes to crime as opposed to the primarily observational studies that are conducted in the context of fear-of-crime research.

Standards of behaviour in the police's workplace.

LSE Mannheim Centre for Criminology, and UNISON. Lead Researcher: Professor Jennifer Brown (2014 - 2018)

This research looked at standards of behaviour in the police's workplace, focusing on different types of sexual harassment among police staff. We designed and conducted online surveys, which explored the type and incidence of sexual harassment within the police working environment and the explanatory value of known antecedent factors.


The main objectives were first, to explore the frequency of occurrence of sexually harassing behaviours experienced by police staff, and the factors that are more strongly related to theperceived frequency of sexual harassment; and second, to explore the dimensionality of the
concept ‘sexual harassment’ within the police working environment.

See publications for research outputs.

Fear of crime as a way of thinking, feeling and acting: an integrated approach to measurement and a theoretical examination of psychological distance and risk construal.

PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (2012 - 2016)

My doctoral research developed critical theoretical and methodological approaches to the criminological exploration of the fear of crime. The key objectives were to enhance the theorization of public attitudes to crime by bridging the social and the psychological in criminological research, and to develop an integrated methodological approach to the empirical exploration of public attitudes to crime. To achieve the former, I tested (for the first time in criminological literature) the applicability of the construal-level theory of psychological distance in fear of crime. To achieve the latter, observational and experimental methodologies were combined to empirically evaluate my research hypotheses.

Overall, the findings suggest that experiencing crime as psychologically distant and mentally representing it abstractly cool off fear of crime reactions. This work helped develop an interdisciplinary approach to the theorization of the fear of crime, by fostering a dialogue between psychological and sociological theories in order to develop a more holistic theoretical perspective. It also helped expand the methodological domination of survey methodology in this area, by showing that taking alternative perspective to the conceptualization of one's response variable (here fear of crime) renders the topic amenable to research that employs different methodologies (here experimental methodology).

See publications for research outputs.

Evaluation for social action rehabilitation fund.

Khulisa Project, Restorative Justice for All, Cabinet Office Offender Rehabilitation Fund & Restorative Justice for All (2013 - 2015)

This research evaluated preparatory initiatives of restorative justice programmes that take place in UK prisons. The evaluation involved a dual process. First, we analysed secondary data to explore the association between participation on inmates in these programmes and re-offending; second, we conducted ethnographic research in prisons to explore the lived experience of such programmes by the inmates, the facilitators, and other stakeholders.

Methodologically, the project adopted a mixed-methods approach, involving participant observation, qualitative interviews, and statistical analysis of secondary data. The evaluation demonstrated the significant impact of the two intervention programmes on reducing violence, promoting resilience and emotional well-being, helping offenders to think differently and positively about their futures, and finally, designing a mentoring model to further support them on their journey.

Research outputs:

Worth, P., Smith, M., Gavrielides, T., Ntziadima, A., and Gouseti, I., (2015). The Psychology of Restorative Justice: Creating the Inner and Outer space for change. An inter-disciplinary observation of restorative justice meetings. In Gavrielides, T. The Psychology of Restorative Justice: Managing the Power Within. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.

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