Institute for Social Justice and Crime — Projects and Publications

We are developing an evidence base on "What Works" and working with commissioners and professionals to value the important work that they do to further our understanding of pertinent issues facing society. As a research institute, sharing our research, practice and learning is at the heart of what we do. 

For further information on our projects and to download research reports, click the links below.


Staff Research Team Members Title Overview
Professor Miranda Horvath Kari Davies, Hazel Sayer, Ruth Spence, Tamara Polajnar The prioritisation of potentially harmful subjects and the estimation of future risk Working in collaboration with Middlesex University, Bournemouth University and West Midlands Police (WMP) the project aims to evaluate the outcomes of a predictive algorithm developed by WMP that identifies stalking and harassment offenders who pose high harm to potential victims. The research team is investigating how algorithms can be best implemented in practice, and developing a framework for implementing predictive and prioritisation algorithms in policing. 
Professor Miranda Horvath Zoe Callon, Asmaa Majid, Kari Davies, Aneela Khan, Adam Gregory Targeting repeat sexual offending suspects using behavioural analysis This project aims to develop a series of behaviourally based interventions that are being implemented and evaluated in Devon and Cornwall Police (DCP) and produce national police guidance on how these interventions can work to better target repeat sex offending (RSO) suspects. The research team is conducting a national review of how Behavioural Analysis (BA) is used in police forces and how links to expertise in other law enforcement agencies such as the National Crime Agency (NCA) can be drawn on, to provide a national picture and guidance on the use of BA in targeting RSO suspects. This project is in collaboration with Bournemouth University and DCP.
Professor Miranda Horvath Kari Davies, Pippa Gregory, Margaret Hardiman Identifying and managing risk in non-convicted sex offence perpetrators

This project, in collaboration with Dyford Powys Police, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Bournemouth University, centres around creating and evaluating a method for identifying non-convicted offenders. The project will: 

  • Build a prioritisation tool that identifies non-convicted serious sexual offence perpetrators requiring risk mitigation and suggests tactical options to achieve this.
  • Evaluate whether this structured method of identifying suspects for disruption work changes policing practices including desire, ability and confidence in seeking ways to prevent offending such as civil orders, perpetrator programmes and Offender Management Unit interventions.
Professor Miranda Horvath Hazel Sayer, Ruth Spence, Tamara Polajnar High Perpetrator Project Working in collaboration with Bournemouth University and Middlesex University, this project builds on previous work with West Midlands Police to pilot the RUDI framework with Devon & Cornwall Police. The research team will guide DCP through the process of writing a business case for what type of data modelling might be needed and how the results of any algorithm will be used. They will also explore their current data capabilities and why previous attempts at algorithmic policing have not been sustained.
Dr Olumide Adia   VISION The Violence, Health, and Society (VISION) consortium is funded by the UK Prevention Research Partnership. It is a collaboration of epidemiologists, economists, data scientists, criminologists, evaluation experts, psychiatrists and more from multiple universities. The research brings data together from health and crime surveys, health services, police, solicitors, and third sector domestic and sexual violence specialist services. Together, over the course of our five-year project, the project aims to improve the measurement of data on violence to influence policy and practice and reduce violence and the health inequalities that result. More information on this project can be found here.
Dr Katherine Allen   Evaluating Fair Play Secondary + Funder Gender Equality Matters commissioned UoS to conduct an independent mixed-methods evaluation of Fair Play Secondary+ (FSP+), an educational game designed to support secondary-school aged young people in learning about healthy relationships, consent and abuse.


Staff Research Team Members Title Overview
Dr Olumide Adisa Dr Katherine Allen/Dr Mark Manning/Dr Maria Cross Drive Systems Change Evaluation Researchers conducted a two-year project for DRIVE, which assessed the impact of DRIVE on local and national systems change through examining changes in culture and practice in three areas across England (Avon and Somerset, Derbyshire, and the Wirral). The evaluation was multi-method, collaborative and informed by systems thinking, with researchers working closely with DRIVE and stakeholders to incorporate diverse perspectives. The evaluation examined how the DRIVE partnership has contributed to changes in local agencies’ culture, practice and multi-agency working   and how these changes have impacted on services’ engagement with perpetrators and victim-survivors. More broadly, it assessed how DRIVE has changed the picture at a national level through increased awareness around the need for domestic abuse perpetrator programmes
Dr Katherine Allen and Dr Megan Hermolle   Minerva

This mixed-methods project involves supporting and evaluating the development of an AI tool for women experiencing online and technology-facilitated abuse, with the aim of preventing further harm, promoting recovery and facilitating effective reporting. This project is in partnership with the Southwest Grid for Learning and Rascal Ventures, who are developing the Minerva app.  

The research stage of the project encompasses a scoping review on defining, understanding and responding to online and technology-facilitated abuse, a Freedom of Information request to police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland relating to training and attrition, online surveys for victim-survivors and professionals whose work brings them into contact with victim-survivors, and follow-up interviews and co-design discussions with victim-survivors.  

Researchers are currently in the evaluation stage, which includes analysing feedback from beta and live Minerva users. 

Professor Miranda Horvath Dr Joanna Ferreira, Aneela Khan, Lindsey Redgwell, Dr Maria Cross, Dr Katherine Allen, Dr Ruth Spence Operation Soteria Bluestone

Operation Soteria Bluestone is a UK Home Office-funded  programme designed to improve the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) in England and Wales. It is a unique project which is underpinned by rigorous social science.  With multi-disciplined academics located in multiple universities, mixed qualitative and quantitative methods were applied to a six pillared approach to organisational change with police forces, uplifting the capability of more specialist police decision-making in RASSO cases. These research informed pillars pinpointed specific areas for improvement which formed part of the new 6 pillar framework for investigating RASSO: 1) suspect-focused investigations; 2) disrupting repeat offenders; 3) victim engagement as procedural justice; 4) promoting better learning, development, and wellbeing for police officers; 5) using data more effectively in RASSO investigations; and 6) digital forensics. 

The pathfinder project started in 2021, based in Avon and Somerset Constabulary. The project was completed in September 2023 by which point the team had worked with 4 additional pathfinder forces and 14 adopter forces.  Designed by Professor Katrin Hohl (City University) and Professor Betsy Stanko, the pillar leads include Dr Kari Davies (Bournemouth University), Professor Miranda Horvath, Dr Kelly Johnson (University of Glasgow), Jo Lovett (London Metropolitan University), Tiggey May (Birkbeck, University of London), Dr Olivia Smith (Loughborough University) and Dr Emma Williams (Open University). 
Pillar 1 (Suspect focused Investigations) of Operation Soteria Bluestone was led by Professor Miranda Horvath at the University of Suffolk.  

The Team

  • Prof Miranda Horvath – Principal Investigator 
  • Lindsey Redgwell – Project Administrator                                                             
  • Dr Maria Cross - Project Administrator
  • Dr Katherine Allen – Research Fellow 
  • Dr Joana Ferreira – Research Fellow 
    Aneela Khan – Research Fellow 
  • Dr Ruth Spence – Research Fellow (Middlesex University) 

Pillar 1 involves working closely with Dr Kari Davies and a team at Bournemouth University who are running pillar 2 on targeting repeat suspects, and examines how repeat sex offence suspects are identified, investigated, and disrupted by the police. Through Pillars 1 and 2, five PhD studentships were funded, with research being conducted by Arianna Barbin, Sophie Barrett, Zoe Callon, Lily Hill, and another to be awarded.

The research informed policing practice as well as government policy and developed a new National Operating Model for RASSO which was launched in June 2023.

The year 1 report can be accessed on: Operation Soteria Year One Report

The National Operating Model can be accessed here.
The RASSO National Operating Model can be accessed here and the full detail is on the Knowledge Hub.
One of the papers published from Operation Soteria Bluestone data published in January 2023, which was co-written by a team from the Institute (Prof Miranda Horvath, Dr Katherine Allen, Dr Joana Ferreira, and Thistle Dalton) was covered by the Guardian Newspaper on 20th January 2023. Read the Sage Journal here and The  Guardian article here.

Dr Megan Hermolle   Mapping the State of Trauma Informed Practice Across Suffolk Organisations Suffolk County Council and Survivors in Transition commissioned UoS to gauge the extent and quality of trauma-informed practice training and provision across Suffolk and North East Essex (SNEE), and to make recommendations for more consistent provision of trauma-informed practice provision and training across the system in SNEE and beyond.
Dr Katherine Allen Dr Olumide Adisa, Dr Megan Hermolle Crimestoppers sexual harassment research Crimestoppers commissioned UoS to investigate public understanding of, and attitudes towards, sexual harassment, to inform a national campaign on challenging harmful public behaviours. Researchers designed a survey for national dissemination to assess community awareness and knowledge of sexual harassment in public spaces, and to explore how social norms and attitudes contribute to perpetration and/or toleration of harmful behaviours.
Dr Katherine Allen   Norfolk Rapid Evidence Review The Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk commissioned UoS to conduct a Safe Streets-funded Rapid Evidence Assessment on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in public spaces, with the objectives of identifying the attitudes and beliefs that are associated with VAWG, the barriers to reporting, and understanding how VAWG impacts women and girls’ sense of safety in public spaces. The REA was designed to inform a local campaign challenging VAWG.
Dr Katherine Allen Dr Megan Hermolle West Suffolk Sexual Harassment @ Suffolk College West Suffolk College commissioned UoS to independently evaluate their sexual harassment pilot programme, which employed forum theatre techniques to educate participants on sexual harassment and empower them to report or challenge harmful behaviours.
Dr Olumide Adisa Dr Megan Hermolle, Dr Joanna Ferreira Venta This research project was an extension of Dr Olumide Adisa’s 2019 evaluation of the Venta programme, which supports men who have used harmful behaviours in their intimate relationships to make positive behavioural changes. Researchers interviewed men who have completed the programme to develop their understanding of how Venta enables men to change their behaviour, the benefits of engaging with the programme and any areas for improvement.  


To view all our outputs, please see our Open Access Repository via the following search link: OARS - ISJC Outputs


  • "I think if you cut me open, it runs through my veins": Trauma-informed practice provision and training in Suffolk, 2023
    Megan Hermolle
    Funded by Suffolk County Council and commissioned by Survivors in Transition, the objectives of this project were to gauge the extent and quality of trauma-informed practice training and provision across the region, to make recommendations for more consistent practice and training across the system. 
  • Drive Systems change evaluation, 2023
    Olumide Adisa, Katherine Allen, Mark Manning, Joana Ferreira, Miranda Horvath
    This evaluation was commissioned by the Drive Partnership and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF). It examines the extent to which the Drive Partnership, and the Drive Project model (DPM), have fostered local and national systems change in relation to working with those who cause harm by perpetrating domestic abuse (DA) . The evaluation took place from October 2021 - April 2023, with fieldwork across five DPM sites between September 2022 - March 2023. 
  • Sexual harassment in public spaces: communicating harms and challenging perpetration, 2023
    Katherine Allen, Megan Hermolle, Olumide Adisa
    This research project was designed to accomplish the following objectives:
    1. Contribute to the evidence base regarding community knowledge and 
    awareness of sexual harassment/unacceptable or harmful behaviours and 
    practices in public spaces
    2. Add to the understanding of why some men choose to engage in harmful or 
    unacceptable behaviours such as sexual harassment in public spaces 
    3. Use these research insights to develop effective, targeted messaging for key 
    groups and demographics, including perpetrators, bystanders and ‘enablers’.
  • Denial, disbelief and delays: examining the costs on the NHS of delayed Child Sexual Abuse disclosures in England and Wales
    Olumide Adisa, Megan Hermolle, Fiona Ellis
    This report provides new information on the costs of delayed disclosures of CSA (child sexual abuse) on the NHS in England and Wales. The costing indicates that the highest costs were accrued before disclosure, supporting the finding that delayed disclosure leads to higher costs to the NHS and to CSA survivors. Average lifetime health cost per CSA survivor was estimated to be £4.9m, while the total lifetime health-related economic burden was estimated to be 2.9b. One implication of these findings is that interventions provided by the NHS are an important part of the overall response. Recommendations include better preparing NHS staff to recognise and manage disclosures effectively and utilise trauma-informed models, and additionally that more investment is needed in identifying and preventing CSA on the same scale as the efforts involved in tackling domestic abuse. 
  • Redefining safety: a narrative review of literature on the underground and open or ‘Dutch’ models of refuge, May 2023
    Katherine Allen, Megan Hermolle, Olumide Adisa
    This article synthesises literature on the evolution of domestic abuse (DA) refuges, with particular attention to the development of two models: the conventional or ‘underground’ refuge (UR) and the open or ‘Dutch’ refuge. The article will detail what the available evidence says about the benefits and drawbacks of these models and explore their implications for the DA sector in England, with reference to extending women’s space for action and meeting the needs of underserved victim-survivors.
    The article argues that multiple models of provision are needed to meet the intersecting, complex and at times competing needs of different victim-survivors, and that available evidence provides preliminary support for the viability of the open model as part of a wider suite of responses to DA. Further research is needed to extend the evidence base on the open model, and to develop a whole system approach which can meet the needs of a wider range of victim-survivors.
  • A lot of the time it’s dealing with victims who don’t want to know, it’s all made up, or they’ve got mental health’: rape myths in a large English police force, 2023
    Anna Gekoski, Kristina Massey, Katherine Allen, Joana Ferreira, Charlotte T. Dalton,  Miranda Horvath
    Despite an increase in the reporting of rape, convictions in England and Wales have fallen significantly in recent years. Previous research has found high rape myth acceptance among police officers. Given that the police act as gatekeepers to the criminal justice system, subscribing to rape myths may have significant effects upon victim attrition and conviction rates. This study explores police officers’ use of rape myths and how these may impact investigations and prosecutions. A total of 17 semi-structured interviews were conducted with police officers from a large English police force. The interview data were analysed using the qualitative method of thematic analysis. Although there were instances where officers demonstrated some awareness of the need to dispel or counter rape myths, rape myths were employed by most officers, with the most common relating to (1) victim fabrication (‘women lie’) and (2) victim precipitation (‘women ask for it’). Recommendations are made around screening and training for police officers.
  • An Evaluation of Hope’s Cross-Cultural Training Programme, 2022
    Olumide Adisa, Katherine Allen and Meena Kumari
     This report presents the findings of CARe’s evaluation of a series of cross-cultural webinars coordinated by H.O.P.E Training & Consultancy. The webinars were designed to promote culturally-informed responses to racially minoritized survivors across specialist and mainstream domestic abuse and sexual violence services, drawing on the expertise of researchers and practitioners with relevant professional and lived experience to provide training. The research team gathered survey evidence from attendees and conducted interviews with trainers to assess the impact of the webinars, which were then analysed. The report shows  that CCT was viewed by participants as being a highly beneficial, nuanced piece of training, sensitive to contemporary needs in the field, especially in light of the BLM movement. In particular, participants felt that the training was informed and pragmatic, allowing for candid and open discussions about the subjects of race, gender-based violence, and myriad other pressing social issues. 
  • Safer streets: a rapid evidence assessment of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in public spaces, 2022
    Katherine Allen, Arianna Barbin, Aneela Khan, Joana Ferreira, Miranda Horvath
    Researchers conducted a question-led adapted Rapid Evidence Assessment designed to address three research questions:
    1. What does the available literature say regarding the attitudes and beliefs associated with VAWG and how do these contribute to VAWG in public spaces? What does available evidence show regarding ‘what works’ to tackle these attitudes and engender behavioural change?
    2. What does the literature say regarding the barriers to reporting VAWG in public spaces?
    3. What does the literature say about feelings of diminished safety in relation to VAWG in public spaces?
  • Understanding sexual violence and factors related to police outcomes, 2022
    Kari Davies, Ruth Spence, Emma Cummings, Maria Cross, Miranda Horvath
    In the year ending March 2020, an estimated 773,000 people in England and Wales were sexually assaulted. These types of crimes have lasting effects on victims’ mental health, including depression, anxiety (Petrak et al., 2007), and post-traumatic stress disorder (Epstein et al., 1997). There is a large body of literature which identifies several factors associated with the likelihood of the victim reporting a sexual assault to the police, and these differences may be due to rape myth stereotypes which perpetuate
    the belief that rape is only ‘real’ under certain conditions. Less is known, however, about the effect these rape myths and stereotypes have on the investigation process itself and the subsequent police outcomes assigned to sex offences. This study aimed to address this gap, providing a profile of all RASSO (rape and serious sexual offences) committed over a three-year period in one English police force, the police outcomes of these offences, and whether any offences, suspect, or victim variables were associated
    with different outcomes, in particular the decision to charge or cases where victims decline to prosecute. In line with previous research, the majority of victims were female while the majority of suspects were male, and the most frequent victim-suspect relationship was acquaintance, followed by partner/ex-partner. Charge outcomes were more likely in SSOs and less in rape offences, more likely with stranger offences and less likely than offences committed by partners/ex-partners and relatives, and some non-white suspects were more likely to be charged than suspects of other ethnicities, including white suspects. Victim attrition was more likely in cases where the suspect was a partner or ex-partner and least likely where the suspect was a stranger, more likely in SSOs than in rape cases, and more likely when the victim ethnicity was ‘other’. Law enforcement should be aware of the potential biases, both relating to rape myths and stereotypes and to the biased treatment of victims and suspects based on demographic characteristics, and work to eliminate these to ensure a fairer and more effective RASSO investigative process.

  • Use of Parsing Heuristics in the Comprehension of Passive Sentences: Evidence from Dyslexia and Individual Differences, 2022
    Marianna Stella
    This study examined the comprehension of passive sentences in order to investigate whether individuals with dyslexia rely on parsing heuristics in language comprehension to a greater extent than non-dyslexic readers. One hundred adults (50 dyslexics and 50 controls) read active and passive sentences, and we also manipulated semantic plausibility. Eye movements were monitored, while participants read each sentence, and afterwards, participants answered a comprehension question. We also assessed verbal intelligence and working memory in all participants. Results showed dyslexia status interacted with sentence structure and plausibility, such that participants with dyslexia showed significantly more comprehension errors with passive and implausible sentence. With respect to verbal intelligence and working memory, we found that individuals with lower verbal intelligence were overall more likely to make comprehension errors, and individuals with lower working memory showed particular difficulties with passive and implausible sentences. For reading times, we found that individuals with dyslexia were overall slower readers. These findings suggest that (1) individuals with dyslexia do rely on heuristics to a greater extent than do non-dyslexic individuals, and (2) individual differences variables (e.g., verbal intelligence and working memory) are also related to the use of parsing heuristics. For the latter, lower ability individuals tended to be more consistent with heuristic processing (i.e., good-enough representations).
  • Anchor+ evaluation, 2021
    Olumide Adisa, Katherine Allen, Joana Ferreira 

    This report outlines the findings from the evaluation of Anchor+ undertaken by Dr Olumide Adisa, Dr Katherine Allen, and Joana Ferreira at the Centre for Abuse Research (CARe) between September
    2020 - June 2021.

    Anchor+ is an amalgamation and extension of two formerly separate programmes, Project Safety Net Plus (PSN+) and the Anchor Project (AP).

    Anchor+ launched on 1st September 2020 following the end
    of funding for these projects as distinct entities. Both PSN+ (Norfolk and Suffolk) and AP (Norfolk) had been highly collaborative in design and implementation, closing gaps in local domestic abuse (DA)
    provision for service users who may otherwise face barriers to accessing emergency accommodation and support, with PSN+ focusing on those with support needs around immigration status, language, and recourse to public funds (NRPF), and AP supporting those with mental health and substance use issues.

  • Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse: A critical appraisal of evidence from the Home Office Review, 2021
    Olumide Adisa, Katherine Allen
    The purpose of this review (hereafter, DAC Review/DACR) is to consider and assess the evidence that informed the Home Office Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse Review (HOR). This review was commissioned by the Office of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner (DAC). The review was carried out between March - April 2021 by Dr Olumide Adisa and Dr Katherine Allen at the University of Suffolk’s Centre for Abuse Research.

  • Online Harassment and Hate Crime in HEIs – report from FOI, 2020
    Andy Phippen and Emma Bond
    In this report Profs Emma Bond and Andy Phippen explore university’s approach to supporting students who might be victims on online abuse, looking at issues such as policies, the recording of incidents, routes for support and training. Using Freedom of Information requests to explore the sector, the report shows a worrying picture of institutions who have little idea how to address online abuse (and in some cases do not see it as their concern), a failure to define policy to support practice, and demonstrates a sector wide lack of staff training. 
  • Higher Education Online Safeguarding Self-Review Took 2019
    Emma Bond and Andy Phippen 
    The Digital Civility project at the University of Suffolk is an innovative initiative that received funding through the HEFCE Catalyst fund. The University aims to increase digital civility, improve the online safety of students in relation to Emmonline abuse, harassment, and hate crime over the coming year, with the support of the University of Suffolk Student Union, Student Services and Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research.   
  • Revenge Pornography Helpline - Evaluation of annual helpline data, 2018
    Emma Bond and Katie Tyrrell
    This evaluation has presented an analysis of 12 months of activity for the Revenge Pornography Helpline from April 2017-March 2018.  The quantitative and qualitative data reflects a highly successful service in providing specialist advice, signposting and legal support in removing online content. The combination of practical and emotional support ensures a holistic and individualistic service which meets the needs of victims of image-based sexual abuse.  

The Institute for Social Justice and Crime came into being in 2021 with the appointment of Director, Professor Miranda Horvath. Prior to this, the University's research work in this area was conducted under the Centre for Abuse Research (CARe) and the Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research (SISER). 

Click here to access the SISER 2019 Annual Report