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Durham University

Durham Law School


Hannah Bows wins Winston Churchill Memorial Trust grant

(7 March 2019)

Dr Hannah Bows, Assistant Professor in Criminal Law within Durham Law School, has won a prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Trust grant to go research specialist elder justice and elder abuse courts in the USA later this year.

Hannah will be conducting the research in the USA, specifically Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Virginia, Florida and California. She will be visiting elder justice centres and elder justice courts in these areas.

Further details below:

Research indicates at least 1 in 6 people aged 60 and over experience some form of elder abuse (physical, emotional, financial, sexual by a spouse, carer or family member) each year, equating to around 2 million people in the UK alone. Yet, few victims report to the police and less than 1% of cases result in conviction due to multiple barriers. Over the last two decades the USA has developed innovative, specialist courts and justice centres to improve case outcomes and victim experiences.To purpose of this project is to examine ground-breaking elder abuse projects which are developing innovative legal and community strategies to respond to elder abuse and improve access to justice for victims via specialist justice centres and courts. Hannah's aim is to evaluate these models and establish the potential for transferring learning to the UK. Research suggests that elder abuse takes the same forms globally and although the USA has a different legal framework, the overarching adversarial system mirrors that of the UK. Dr Bows will explore how legal and community services have come together with specialist advice services to tackle elder abuse and the practical and political impact that these specialist justice centres and courts have. Through identifying how these justice centres and specialist courts operate and the processes they utilise, Hannah will examine how the UK could adopt a similar model to respond to, and improve, justice outcomes in elder abuse cases.

Dr Bows commented: 'I am absolutely delighted to be awarded this fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust which will enable me to research pioneering initiatives responding to crimes against older people. The USA have been at the forefront of both research and practice in this area and this fellowship offers me an exciting opportunity to see how these projects operate and how we might adopt similar approaches in the UK'.