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Welcome to the the Centre for City Criminology.
Based in the heart of London, a global city par excellence, City Criminologists study what is at their door-step: the key institutions of government, policy-making and the media; extreme socio-economic divides between globalisation’s winners and losers; offenders, victims, the police and criminal justice agencies; cutting-edge street culture and everyday urban life. Dedicated to sophisticated, sociologically-inspired analysis, we examine the big ideas that underpin crime and criminal justice in contemporary society.
Our activities and events are inspired by the notion that theoretical innovation, clear thinking and rigorous research can offer much to scholars and practitioners alike. We are committed to multi-disciplinarity, collaboration and openness. We welcome a wide variety of interested parties to our events. We are keen to hear from organisations who will be interested in meeting and/or working with us and from individuals who would be interested in undertaking PhD study.
The Centre for City Criminology has a membership with diverse research interests and specialisms. With expertise on topics from the interplay between media coverage, political strategies and policy processes, to what criminal offending and the experience of crime victimisation look like in the 21st Century, and more, our team is at the forefront of contemporary criminology.
A broad range of organisations and individuals may find that they have something to gain by attending our events, reading our material, or engaging in discussions with us. This applies to the government, voluntary and community sectors and beyond.
We are keen to explore ways of developing mutually beneficial partnership and to work in novel ways.
Please email the Centre Director Jonathan Ilan to discuss possibilities for working with us.
The aims of this research are to:
We are interested in all kinds of victimisation that students experience. This means we want to know about a broad spectrum of different behaviours - from everyday microaggressions to criminal offences, both within and beyond the university itself.
University students are an important group in society but can be overlooked when it comes to research on crime and violence - this is despite young people being a high-risk group. This pilot project is the first step in trying to build a comprehensive picture of students’ experiences of violence in the UK.
Our online survey has been developed through collaboration between various experts (City, University of London, De Montfort University, University of Surrey, NatCen, and Universities UK), and your answers are completely anonymous.
Please make sure you’ve read and understood the research information (FAQs) before taking part. It should take approx. 15-20 minutes to complete:
Find out more about this project by using the page headings, or get in touch directly:
*Note: This will prompt you for an email address to receive updates and information about our work, including an invite to potentially contribute to more research in the future. This is completely separate from the survey, so you will not be linked to any responses.
Your input is essential to helping our understanding of students experiences of violence and will help us advocate for a safer and more supportive environment for university students in future.
Thank you for taking part.
Tackling violence, harassment and hate crime is high on the agenda for UK universities. Since 2010 the National Union of Students has conducted surveys that evidence problematic behaviours within university settings, including sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances amongst the student population (NUS, 2010; NUS, 2014). Further research also provides evidence of staff sexual misconduct and predatory behaviours (NUS 2018), as well as racial and homophobic harassment, prejudice and (cyber)-bullying (EHRC 2019; Formby 2017; Myers & Cowie 2017).
The impact that violence, harassment and experiences of hate crime has on any age, but especially young people is considerable. Studies suggest not only long-term damage to self-esteem, emotional health and wellbeing (Myers and Cowie, 2016), but also increased propensity to contemplate suicide or self-harm, develop an eating disorder and engage in substance abuse (Stenning, MitraKahn and Gunby, 2012). Evidence also suggests that experiences of violence can negatively impact students’ academic attainment, as well as damage universities’ institutional reputation and negatively affect student retention and recruitment.
In light of this growing body of evidence, Universities UK (UUK) in 2016 launched ‘Changing the Culture’, a strategic framework to support universities to prevent and respond to violence against women, harassment and hate crimes affecting university students. Follow-up reports in 2018 and 2019 demonstrate that although some progress has been made, as Professor Julia Buckingham, UUK’s President, states “there is much more to be done, with progress still variable across the higher education sector.” (UUK 2017; 2018). Further work is therefore required to better understand HEI’s awareness and prioritisation of violence, harassment and hate crime, and to identify what can be done to reduce incidences of violence within university settings.
One of the key gaps in understanding the prevalence of violence at university is sector wide data collection. Existing research is piecemeal at best but highlights some key themes that need to be included, for example Homophobic and Transphobic aggression (Rivers, 2016); Cyberbullying and Rape Culture (Shariff and DeMartini, 2016). The only way that a full understanding of violence, in all of its forms, from the online to the offline the physical to the psychological, within HEI’s can be understood is to design a survey, which can then be rolled out across the sector, once the exact measurements/definitions of violence have been established and piloted.
Your input is essential to helping our understanding of students experiences of violence and will help us advocate for a safer and more supportive environment for university students in future. Thank you for your interest.
You must be over the age of 18 to take part and be enrolled to study at a UK University (during the academic year 2020-21).
If you have recently suspended or paused your studies for any reason (i.e., within the current academic year), you can still participate. You can also participate if you are on a placement year in industry/abroad as part of your studies.
The survey is anonymous: This means we will not ask for your name, proof of student ID, or any other information that may identify you as an individual.
Our anonymous online survey will ask you about your experiences of violence and victimisation as a university student. It should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
We are interested in a broad spectrum of different behaviours, from everyday microaggressions to criminal offences.
You can report:
Your survey answers are anonymous, meaning the research team will not be able to identify any individuals from their responses.
The survey is also confidential. This means we will not share any information that might risk accidently identifying you. Any details that the research team think might risk identifying you as an individual will be redacted/removed prior to sharing or publishing the data.
We will ask you questions about your identity as well as your experiences. We understand that this data is personal and sensitive. This is important for us to ask, because we know that some groups may be at greater risk of experiencing violence than others. By collecting this information, we can help universities to tailor their support services for those who need it most and contribute to efforts to tackle inequalities in university provision.
City, University of London is the sponsor and the data controller of this study based in the United Kingdom. This means that we are responsible for looking after your information and using it properly. The legal basis under which your data will be processed is City’s public task. Your right to access, change or move your information are limited, as we need to manage your information in a specific way in order for the research to be reliable and accurate. To safeguard your rights, we will use the minimum personal-identifiable information possible (for further information please see the ICO’s guide to GDPR).
All data gathered for this project will be collected, stored and shared in accordance with City University of London’s Data Protection Policy and Information Security Policy, to make sure it is kept safe and secure.
You can find out more about how City handles data by visiting the Legal and Governance pages on our website. If you are concerned about how we have processed your personal data, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (IOC).
The survey will be conducted through Qualtrics, which is a university approved tool for social survey research. Only City University researchers with a registered account will have direct access to the survey via Qualtrics. They will be responsible for ensuring the confidentiality of the data as required (i.e., removing any identifying details or information) before it is shared.
The data will be transferred to Excel for analysis in a password-protected folder that is only accessible to the approved research team (via Microsoft SharePoint). Read more about security and compliance controls in MS SharePoint here. City policy dictates that we keep this data on record for 10 years, after which time it is destroyed (i.e., deleted).
Your contribution is really valuable to helping our understanding of students experiences of violence and will help us to advocate for a safer and more supportive environment for university students in future.
We also feel it is vital for students to have the opportunity to tell their stories. For some people, being given a chance to share their experiences can be a positive thing. It can help us feel listened to and feel like our voices are making a difference. For this reason, we have included several ‘open text’ boxes throughout the survey, so that you can tell us about your experiences in your own words.
We also understand that it can sometimes be very difficult to revisit and report these kinds of experiences, which is why we have outlined sources of support on hand in case you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this survey.
Remember: Any questions you do not wish to answer you can simply leave blank. You are not obliged to complete the survey in full and can leave at any point should you wish to.
We understand that these issues can sometimes be difficult to discuss, and so we have included a variety of support services ready to help if you would like to talk to someone about your experiences.
Please consider getting in touch with any of the following support services if you would like to speak to someone about any issues addressed through this research:
This study has been approved by City, University of London Research Ethics Committee.
If you have any problems, concerns or questions about this study, you should first consider asking to speak to a member of the research team directly:
If you remain unhappy and wish to complain formally, you can do this through City’s complaints procedure. To complain about the study, you need to phone 020 7040 3040. You can then ask to speak to the Secretary to Senate Research Ethics Committee and inform them that the name of the project is the ‘Violence at University Pilot Project’.
You can also write to the Secretary at:
Research Integrity Manager
City, University of London, Northampton Square
London, EC1V 0HB
Once the survey has closed, the research team can begin the process of analysing the data. This process normally takes a month or two, depending on how many responses we have.
After analysis, the results of the survey will be used to generate various publications. This may include journal articles, reports, press releases, recommendations & guidance, etc.
(Remember: all the answers from the survey will be anonymous, so nothing that might risk identifying a particular individual will be included in these.)
A summary of the results and any publications created will be available here on our research web pages. This means that you can simply check back for updates without needing to contact with the research team or identifying yourself as a participant.
This survey has been designed by a team of researchers with particular expertise in working with students, developing university policy, and social survey design. The project involves collaboration between academics who are experienced working with victims and survivors of violence, plus sector knowledge and guidance from Universities UK, and input from global social research center NatCen.
Read on for more details about the team.
Carrie is the Undergraduate Programme Director for the Department of Sociology at City, University of London and a Senior Lecturer in Criminology. She has extensive research experience in a number of key areas including: Youth Crime, School Violence and Bullying, Cyberbullying Across the Educational Lifespan and Victimisation Processes. Her research on Cyberbullying at University considers the intersections between Criminological and Psychological theory, gaps in policy and the legal boundaries that need to be acknowledged with this particular age group (those over 18). Her research has attracted both national and international acclaim and has fed into policy initiatives globally. She recently was an expert witness for the Law Commission on their review of communications offences and a review of the law as it relates to taking, making and sharing intimate images without consent. She is currently working with Universities UK and other partners, to develop a network for those who are working in online harassment and her most recent publications are being used as part of the Prevent Cyberbullying in HE initiative in Australia.
Dr Holly Powell-Jones is an educator, researcher and consultant specialising in youth, crime and digital media. She is a former broadcast journalist with a PhD in teenagers’ perceptions of risk & responsibility online from City, University of London. She designed and delivered a large-scale police-commissioned project, educating tens of thousands of children in schools about social media law between 2013 and 2017. She’s worked on several research projects related to social media, youth, crime, law, human rights, and online safety - collaborating with organisations such as the BBFC, the PSHE Association, 5 Rights Foundation, IMPRESS, and others. Holly is the Online Law Lead for the Global Equality Collective, founder of Online Media Law UK, and a Violent Crime Prevention Board award winner in 2020. She guest lectures across the fields of criminology, journalism and sociology, and has authored a book chapter on ‘Social Media and Bullying’.
Helen Cowie is Emerita Professor at the University of Surrey in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. She is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Counselling Psychologist. She was national representative on the COST Cyberbullying Project and contributed a cross-national chapter to the project book, Cyberbullying through the New Media. She has researched and published widely in the field of anti-bullying interventions at school and university, co-authoring (with Carrie-Anne Myers) Bullying Among University Students, Routledge, 2016. School Bullying and Mental Health: Risks, Intervention and Prevention, was published by Routledge in 2018 as the first in a new series entitled The Mental Health and Well-being of Children and Adolescents. In Managing School Violence, she and her co-author Dawn Jennifer designed training for a whole-school approach to reduce and prevent bullying. New Perspectives on Bullying emphasised the importance of fostering positive relationships in the school community as a whole and provided a wealth of evidence-based good practice for professionals. The second edition of From Birth to Sixteen was published in 2019.
Emma Short is based at De Montfort University. She is a Chartered Health Psychologist and HCPC registered as a practitioner in Health Psychology. She has conducted research in the area of cyber harassment, stalking and technology facilitated abuse since 2005, working with partners in the third sector, higher education, police and government bodies. She collaborates widely and across disciplines with stakeholders and continues to deliver training to service providers about online harms and the nature and impact of cyber harassment and stalking. She has worked in higher education for over 20 years and is committed to promoting the wellbeing of all members in that community.
Fiona Waye is a Policy Manager at Universities UK and works on a range of projects to support universities to prevent and respond to all forms of harassment so that no student or member of staff is subject to any form of harassment, intimidation or threatening or violent behaviour in universities. Such an abuse of power is categorically at odds with the values and standards of behaviour expected in the sector. This year’s programme focuses on the development of strategic frameworks, knowledge exchange and the dissemination of ‘what works’; the impact of which will provide the foundations for a change programme in universities to drive continuous improvement in addressing harassment and hate crime.
Nathan Hudson is Research Director in the Crime and Justice team at NatCen, with expertise in the interdisciplinary study of poverty, disadvantage and inequality. Nathan’s research addresses several key areas within UK social policy. His main area of expertise is LGB&T+ equality, where he has undertaken research on a range of issues including recruitment discrimination, non-binary gender identities and transgender awareness in education and training. As a mixed-methods researcher Nathan is experienced in both qualitative and quantitative methods. This includes expertise in undertaking qualitative research with vulnerable groups, as well as stakeholder research, particularly within voluntary and community sector. Nathan also has expertise in providing syntheses of research, having undertaken scoping, rapid evidence and full systematic reviews for a wide range of clients, including the Home Office, the Government Equalities Office, the Department for Education, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Please consider contacting any of the following support services if you would like to speak to someone about any of the issues addressed through this research:
For further reading, see below for a selection of publications, studies, reports, and policies relevant to the topic of violence and victimisation at university:
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