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Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse

News and Events

Upcoming events

Feminist Self Defence: Victim blaming or rape prevention?
Dr Jan Jordan and Prof Liz Kelly in conversation
Introduced by Dr Fiona Vera-Gray
11am-1pm, Monday 9th July
Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre (PCL048), Palatine Centre, Stockton Road, Durham University, Durham, DH1 3DX

Once considered a radical intervention in the 1970s, feminist self defence is no longer a key part of rape prevention initiatives in the UK. Recurring critiques led to ambivalence about its usefulness, and its eventual replacement with prevention work focused largely on giving information about what does and doesn’t constitute sexual consent.

Criticisms largely revolve around the claims that self-defence only focuses on stranger attacks, it excludes women with physical limitations, and it upholds an individualist approach focused on addressing violence just one woman at a time. There are also the long-standing arguments that prevention should be about changing men’s behaviour, not women’s, and that ultimately self-defence is victim-blaming.

However recently there is a growing global dialogue speaking back to these concerns. Professor Liz Kelly and Associate Professor Jan Jordan are part of this dialogue, recently completing evaluations of feminist self-defence programmes in Europe and Aotearoa, New Zealand respectively.

This CRiVA event will see the two in conversation, discussing feminist self defence from the Suffragettes to the modern day, outlining the international knowledge base, and responding to key concerns and questions from both the literature and the audience. The conversation will be introduced by Dr Fiona Vera-Gray, whose new book - The Right Amount of Panic: How women trade freedom for safety - discusses the possibilities of feminist self-defence as a way of “learning to unlearn” the socialisation of the female body.

The event is free to attend, and places are available on a first come first served basis. Please book yours here:

Past events

CRiVA Workshop with Silke Grygier, 7th June 2018
Not The Only One: How can we support survivors of childhood sexual abuse?

CRiVA Public Seminar with Dr Asher Flynn (Monash University, Australia), 30th April 2018.
Image-Based Sexual Abuse: The Australian Experience.

CRiVA Public Lecture with John Drew, 17th January 2018.
Child Protection and Safeguarding: Time to Change Course.
John Drew is Chair of Medway Safeguarding Children Board and a past Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Board. In 2015/6 he conducted an Independent Review of South Yorkshire Police’s handling of child sexual exploitation in the light of the Rotherham scandal.

11th North East Conference on Sexual Violence: Engaging men and boys in preventing sexual and domestic violence.
27th November 2017, Speakers:
Professor Keith Pringle (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Professor Nicole Westmarland (Durham University)
Stephen Burrell (Durham University)
Lisa Charlotte Davis and Pollyanna Turner (Changing Relations)
Clarissa Humphreys (Durham University)

CRiVA Open Lecture with Professor Evan Stark, 19th June 2017.
What About the Children? The Continuum of Coercive Control.

CRiVA Conference with the N8 Policing Research Partnership, 12th June 2017.
Lessons from Duluth and Beyond: Policing Domestic Abuse as Part of a Coordinated Community Response
Speakers included: Melissa Scaia (Director of International Training at Global Rights for Women, Co-Founder of Domestic Violence Turning Points, and former executive director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, "the Duluth Model") and Scott Miller (Coordinated Community Response Organizer for Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs in Duluth, MN and coordinator of the Men’s Non-Violence Program at DAI.

CRiVA Public Lecture with Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs (Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University), 24th April 2017.
Money Matters - Financial Abuse Within Intimate Relationships in the UK.

CRiVA Seminar with Dr Caterina Peroni (University of Padua, Italy), 21st February 2017.
The Italian Feminist Movement and its response to Violence Against Women.

CRiVA Public Lecture with Dr Michael Flood (University of Wollongong, Australia), 8th December 2016.
Is Gender Equality Good for Men?
Watch a video of the lecture - Download Dr Flood's presentation slides

10th North East Conference on Sexual Violence: Sexual and Domestic Violence in Same-sex Relationships.
30th November 2016, Speakers:
Professor Catherine Donovan (University of Sunderland)
Kate Butterworth (Durham University)
Eve Sharp (Trainer, therapist and IDVA for LGBT domestic abuse)
Dr Rebecca Barnes (University of Leicester)
Richard Bliss (Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services)
Jack Cummings and Donna Murray (Hart Gables, Hartlepool)
Janice Stevenson (LGBT Youth Scotland)

CRiVA Seminar - Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the UK, 17th October 2016.
Speakers: Susan Mansaray (Purple Rose BME women's organisation) and Shabina Begum (lawyer and human rights activist).

CRiVA Symposium - Shouting Back: Street Harassment, Bodies and Justice,13th October 2016.
Speakers: Dr Fiona Vera-Gray (Durham Law School) and Dr Bianca Fileborn (La Trobe University, Australia).

CRiVA Seminar with Professor Maria Eriksson (Mälardalen University, Sweden), 21st April 2016.
Children and domestic violence: Enabling children’s rights to protection, provision and participation.

CRiVA Seminar with Professor Maria Eriksson (Mälardalen University, Sweden), 12th April 2016.
Two steps forward and one step back? Ten years of efforts to combat men’s violence against women in Sweden.

CRiVA Seminar with Dr Kerstin Edin and Dr Eva Skåreus (Umeå University, Sweden), 8th March 2016.
Art and arts informed research regarding intimate partner violence in relation to pregnancy.

Special Preview Performances of Rattle Snake
14th December 2015 - St Aidan's College, Durham University, 17th December 2015 - Live Theatre Studio, Newcastle
Rattle Snake is a play by Open Clasp, which has been developed as part of a project with Durham University and Durham Constabulary to train all front-line officers in Durham about the impact of coercive controlling behaviours. It is inspired by women who put their trust in Open Clasp to tell their stories and based on research by CRiVA with Durham Constabulary.
“I attended your play yesterday and it blew my socks off! Very emotive topic and excellently portrayed by the two tremendously talented actors. This was, by a country mile, the most engaging, impactive and thought provoking training session I have had in my fourteen year career in the police.” - PC. Tony Miley, Durham Constabulary
Written by Catrina McHugh, Directed by Charlotte Bennett
Funded by Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

9th North East Conference on Sexual Violence: Sexual Violence Against Older People
30th November 2015, Speakers:
Dr Julie McGarry, University of Nottingham
Bridget Penhale, University of East Anglia
Richinda Taylor, CEO, EVA Women’s Aid
Hannah Bows, Durham University

The Hunting Ground’ Film Screenings, 28th October and 23rd November 2015.
At Durham and Queen's Campuses. A discussion about the film followed, as part of the external consultation of the Durham University Sexual Violence Task Force. Organised by CRiVA and Gender and Law at Durham.

CRiVA Postgraduate Research Snapshot, 23rd September 2015. Speakers:
Kate Butterworth ‘Police responses to same-sex partner abuse victims’
Maggie McDowell ‘How is women's homelessness governed in contemporary society?’
Stephen Burrell ‘How do young men understand and use domestic violence primary prevention campaigns?’
Josie Phillips ‘Me and my worker’: Perspectives of young people, safe carers, and practitioners on developing relationships in child sexual abuse intervention’
Kelly Henderson ‘The role of housing in tackling domestic abuse as part of a co-ordinated community response’
Kirsten Hall ‘Introduction to forthcoming research on children, domestic violence and housing’.

CRiVA Workshop: The Role of Men and Boys in Preventing Violence Against Women, Monday 13th July 2015.
Speaker: Michael Conroy, A Call to Men UK.

Sexual Violence Task Force - Launch Meeting, Tuesday 7th July 2015. Speakers:
Professor Graham Towl (Durham University Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Warden)
Ron Hogg (Durham Police and Crime Commissioner)
Joy Easterby (Darlington and Co. Durham Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre)
The Durham ‘It Happens Here’ Campaign
Millie Tanner (incoming President, Durham Students' Union).
The second half of the meeting took the form of a 'listening event' workshop, coordinated by CRiVA.

CRiVA Conference with Durham Constabulary: ‘Policing Domestic Abuse – What Does ‘Justice’ Look Like?’
Thursday 4th June 2015, Speakers:
Ron Hogg, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner
Mike Barton, Durham Constabulary Chief Constable
Professor Nicole Westmarland, Professor Clare McGlynn, and Clarissa Humphreys, Durham University
Professor Lawrence Sherman and Dr Heather Strang, Cambridge University.

CRiVA Lecture: Police Use of Discretion in Responding to Domestic Abuse, Wednesday 20th May 2015.
Speaker: Kelly Johnson, Durham University.

CRiVA Workshop, ‘Promoting Positive Masculinities at University’: The Good Lad Workshop, Tuesday 28th April 2015.
Speaker: Nik Kirby, The Good Lad Initiative.

Project Mirabal Launch Conference: Domestic Violence Perpetrators - Changing the Story.
Two conferences, exactly the same, were held to mark the end of our research on domestic violence perpetrator programmes:
13th January 2015, Stoke Newington Town Hall and 15th January 2015, Durham Town Hall.
Speakers: Members of the Project Mirabal Team
Professor Liz Kelly, London Metropolitan University, Professor Nicole Westmarland, Durham University and Dr Natasha Howard, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Other speakers: Professor Catherine Donovan, Sunderland University, Dr Rebecca Barnes, Leicester University, Professor David Gadd, Manchester University and Jo Todd, CEO, Respect.
Project Mirabal was supported by grants from the ESRC, Northern Rock Foundation and Lankelly Chase Foundation.

8th North East Conference on Sexual Violence: Sexual Violence on Campus
17th November 2014, Speakers:
Dr Alison Phipps, University of Sussex
Professor Renate Klein, London Metropolitan University
Susuanna Antubam, NUS National Women's Officer
Elizabete Smildzina and Fiona Smailes, Durham 'It Happens Here' campaign
Jo Sharpen, AVA (Against Violence & Abuse)
Ellie Hutchinson, Scottish Women's Aid
Dr Rachel Fenton and Dr Helen Mott, University of West England.

CRiVA Lecture: 'Peeling back the wallpaper to our lives’: Challenging problematic representation in pop culture, Thursday 13th November 2014.
Speakers: Ikamara Larasi and Lia Latchford, Rewind and Reframe.

Transformative Feminist Methods Conference, 10th September 2014.
Keynote speaker: Professor Sandra Harding, University of California.

CRiVA Discussion Meeting, 25th June 2014. Speakers:
Karen Pitcher: 'Assessing adolescents with harmful sexual behaviours: the challenge of developmental transition'
Hannah Bows: 'Sexual violence against older women'
Sarah Wydall: 'Examining a coordinated community response to domestic violence aimed at empowering victims and tackling perpetrators'.

CRiVA Discussion Meeting, 4th March 2014.
Open discussion on 'Bystander Intervention Programmes' which have been imported from North America and recently rolled out in universities in Scotland.

CRiVA Discussion Meeting, 5th February 2014.
Discussion focused on 'sexual consent and young people' (Coy, Kelly et al.) and the 'troubled families agenda' and domestic violence (Stephen Crossley).

7th North East Conference on Sexual Violence: Sexual Violence Online: Campaigning - Surviving - Offending - Victimising - Responding - Preventing - Supporting - Changing
18th November 2013, Speakers:
Dr Mariann Hardey, Durham University
Dr Kovila Coopamootoo, Martin Emms, Dr Budi Arief, Newcastle University
Prof Nicole Westmarland, Dawn Branley, Mehzeb Chowdhury, Richard Wistow, Durham Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse
Jo Costello, Samm Goodall, Ending Victimisation & Blame
Fiona Smailes, Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre
Kay Davies, Rape Crisis England & Wales.

CRiVA Discussion Meeting, 13th November 2013.
Topic: 'Teen violence: is it increasing? Does it mirror adult violence and abuse? Has the expansion of the government definition changed anything?'

CRiVA Discussion Meeting, 18th September 2013.
Topic: 'What would an ideal multi-agency response to violence and abuse look like? Are MARACs and MAPPAs appropriate responses?