Last week, Professor Matthew Hall of Lincoln Law School delivered a closing plenary address at Northumbria University to the annual Symposium of the British Society of Criminology’s Specialist Victims Network. In his talk, Prof. Hall discussed the future directions of victimology and how those working within this field might inform policy making in the context of recent political upheavals around the world: including Brexit and a general shift towards more nationalistic thinking. In particular, Prof. Hall challenged the audience – made up of leading thinkers in the study of victimisation as well as representatives of the victim support community and a number of police and crime commissioners – to think more broadly about the group we label as ‘victims’, reflecting more culturally-informed (rather than a legally informed) notions of ‘victimisation’, ‘suffering’ and ‘trauma’. Drawing on examples including the 96 victims who died as a result of the Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster of 1989, the Ched Evans rape trials and the recent attention paid to historical child sexual abuse, Matthew argued that previous cultural and legal narratives about who ‘counts’ as a victim of crime is changing and that official pronouncements to this end are not as readily accepted. This has significant implications for those tasked with supporting victims both now and in the future. Prof. Hall also emphasised the importance of speaking to victims directly in order to learn more about their needs and to tailor support mechanisms appropriately.
Professor Hall said “This has been a wonderful day of debate and discussion, emphasising how far we have come in supporting victims whilst also exposing the work that is still needed to truly do right by victims of all kinds of crime, and indeed of wider social harms”.
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The House of Commons Academic Fellowship Scheme is run by the House of Commons in partnership with the Political Studies Association (PSA) for senior political and social scientists currently researching or wishing to study the work of Parliament. Dr Catherine Bochel from the University of Lincoln’s School of Social & Political Sciences is one of only five researchers selected for the new role and will be granted rare access to Parliament to examine the relationship between the British public and the processes which shape political decision-making.
Her research will see her working alongside politicians and staff to explore how effectively the public are engaged in the decision-making process and to examine whether the concept of ‘procedural justice’ or ‘fair process’ has been followed.
Dr Bochel said: “Parliament is keen to encourage the public to get involved in politics, and people can now do this in a variety of ways. However, it is important that when they come into contact with Parliament their experience of the process is as positive as possible. This is for a number of reasons. In a liberal democratic system people may not get everything they ask for, so their treatment by the system and experience of it is very important; in such systems final decisions are made by elected representatives, so the public must be able to see that the decision-making process is fair and transparent. Their experience may not only affect how they feel about the individual elements of public engagement with which they have contact, but also wider political and governmental processes. If the processes underpinning participatory initiatives are clearly explained, this may contribute to improved public understanding of Parliament and enhance its work.”
Through her Fellowship, Dr Bochel hopes to improve processes through which Parliament engages the public in political decision-making, particularly in respect of managing expectations, outcomes and feedback to members of the public who get involved.
The College would like to congratulate Dr Bochel and wish her the very best of luck in her research.
You can read the full article on the University of Lincoln website
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Second year psychology student and blogger, Maddi Pownall has had an article published by the British Psychological Society’s publication The Psychologist.
The article titled “New voices: Slam science”, published on The Psychologist blog page, looks at the language of slam poetry and its appeal to both literary academics and psychologists with Maddi stating:
“The psychological mechanisms at play in the act of slam poetry are vast. Self-expression, emotional capacity and the pursuit of meaning in contemporary culture are all in force when enacting a slam poem.”
Maddi had previously had a letter relating to the topic of School Skirt Bans published in the August edition of the Magazine, and republished on their website. It is a fantastic achievement from one of our students for which the School of Psychology as well as the College of Social Science would like to congratulate her.
To read the article in full please visit The Psychologist website.
Maddi can be found on Twitter @maddi_pow, and on her own blog Thought Bubbles (Twitter: @1thoughbubbles). She will also have another article published in PsychTalk Magazine’s January edition, and hopefully many more to come.