Durham University

Policy, Professions and Communities Research Group


Dr Kelly Johnson, BA, MA, PhD

Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44673
Room number: 104, 29 Old Elvet

Contact Dr Kelly Johnson (email at k.m.johnson@durham.ac.uk)


I joined the Department of Sociology at Durham University as an Assistant Professor in 2018. Since joining the department I have become an active member of the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA), and I currently co-convene the Sociological Approaches to Violence and Abuse, and Policing and Police undergraduate modules.

My research interests include domestic and sexual violence, policing, and more broadly responses to violence against women and girls (VAWG). As a researcher, I am passionate about academic research being used to generate impact, collaboration, and positive social change.

My PhD (Durham University 2017) explored Polish women’s experiences of domestic abuse and service engagement in the UK, through a critical feminist, political economic lens. This work, which I am currently developing into a monograph, serves to highlight the interconnections between European women’s experiences of domestic and state violence in ‘Brexit’-era Britain.

However, in addition to my doctoral research, I have developed my research expertise in the policing of domestic abuse through undertaking a series of collaborative studies, which have been published in journals such as the British Journal of Criminology, and Criminology and Criminal Justice. After completing my PhD, I worked as a Research Associate at Lancaster University Law School, investigating the impact of the new coercive control offence on police responses to domestic abuse. I have also previously worked at the Home Office’s College of Policing (on an ESRC-funded research placement), and with Professors Nicole Westmarland and Clare McGlynn, researching police use of ‘out of court’ resolutions when engaging with domestic abuse-related crimes. Additionally, during this time, I worked as a visiting lecturer at Colorado College and Lancaster University, where I taught modules involving participatory domestic abuse research, and contemporary issues in policing (respectively). 

Most recently, I have been conducting research which examines victim-survivors’ experiences of image-based sexual abuse (e.g. ‘revenge porn’ and ‘upskirting’), and legislative and institutional responses to this form of abuse. I am also currently working on a project, investigating the different trajectories of domestic abuse cases reported to the police, as they traverse through the criminal justice system.

Selected Publications

Journal Article


  • Johnson, K. (Planned). Domestic Abuse, Political Economy and State Violence: European Migrant Women’s Experiences of Domestic Violence, in the British Borderlands. London: Routledge.

Newspaper/Magazine Article


  • Johnson, K. (2015). Domestic Abuse Occurrences Involving Polish Nationals: Analysis Report. College of Policing, the Home Office.
  • Johnson, K. (2015). Respekt Evaluation. City of Edinburgh Council.
  • Johnson, K. (2012). Stockton Family Project Evaluation Report: Harbour Support Services. Stockton-on-Tees: Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.

Show all publications

Indicators of Esteem

  • Awarded the ESRC's (NEDTC) Most Impactful Doctoral Research Prize 2015-2016 :

Research Interests

  • Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) - particularly domestic and sexual violence
  • Policing
  • Broader statutory and third sector responses to VAWG
  • Critical feminist and political economic theory
  • Innovative qualitative research methods (incl. multi-sited ethnography)