Justice, Inequality and Gender Based Violence

  • Hester, Marianne (Principal Investigator)
  • Abrahams, Hilary A (Co-Investigator)
  • Aghtaie, Nadia (Co-Investigator)
  • Bates, Lis (Co-Investigator)
  • Eisenstadt, Nathan (Co-Investigator)
  • Gangoli, Geetanjali (Co-Investigator)
  • Matolcsi, Andrea (Co-Investigator)
  • Mulvihill, Natasha (Co-Investigator)
  • Patsios, Demi (Co-Investigator)
  • Turner, William (Co-Investigator)
  • Walker, Sarah-Jane (Co-Investigator)
  • Williamson, Emma (Co-Investigator)
  • Robinson, Amanda (Co-Investigator)
  • McPhee, Duncan (Co-Investigator)
  • Rumney, Philip (Co-Investigator)
  • Williams, Anneleise (Co-Investigator)
  • Sterk, Gwendolyn (Collaborator)
  • Magnusson, Lizzie (Principal Investigator)

Project Details


This ESRC funded research project addresses the knowledge gap that exists regarding justice, inequality and gender-based violence (GBV). The aim of the project was to address how ‘justice’ - in its wider sense- is understood, sought and experienced by victims-survivors and key practitioners, in order to widen the current debate of what ‘justice’ - in the context of GBV - means and to provide a more nuanced picture of what a realistic victim focused justice response would look like.

Over the last 30 months the team have collected and analysed a vast and diverse dataset (1,500 rape and domestic abuse police records, of 1,400 records relating to women using Women’s Aid services, 251 interviews with victims of GBV and 40 interviews with practitioners) exploring experiences of domestic violence and abuse, sexual violence, childhood sexual abuse, ‘honour’-based violence, stalking and harassment and abuse mediated by technology. It addresses perceptions and experiences of criminal, civil, family court, restorative justice; mediation and arbitration; informal justice, including family and community processes, revenge; political activism and volunteering etc.

We have paid close attention to the particular challenges and barriers to help-seeking and justice among different groups of victims-survivors and have identified positive practice (some of which has already being shared with civil and criminal justice agencies, and Government departments responsible for legal frameworks for justice). Our findings also recognise the important role that specialist services and advocates e.g. IDVAs /ISVAs /other advocates play in supporting those impacted by gender-based violence, irrespective of whether formal sources of justice have been achieved or not.

Layman's description

The research addresses how ‘justice’ is understood, sought, and experienced by a wide range of victims/survivors of gender based violence (sexual, domestic and ‘honour-based’ violence), by asking:

1) How do victim/survivors and others experience and perceive ‘justice’?
2) How does inequality affect access to support pathways and trajectories through the formal and informal justice systems?
3) How are notions of resistance and empowerment linked to notions of justice and access to justice?
4) How do practitioners themselves perceive notions of ‘justice’ whether enacted through formal or informal routes.
5) What would a truly victim focused justice agenda for gender based violence look like?

We also look at implications of recent changes in the formal and informal justice systems and policy and contexts of austerity. The research involves extensive literature reviews, meta-analysis of existing criminal justice and GBV datasets, and interviews with a large sample of victims-survivors and practitioners.
Effective start/end date1/10/1518/05/18

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Gender and Violence Research
  • Justice, gender based violence, sexual violence, domestic abuse, BME, faith, mental health, diability, age
  • Gender Research Group


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