Research projects

Research excellence, innovation and impact is at the heart of what we do.

Below is a selection of some of the large- and small-scale projects that we have conducted:

Qualitative and Quantitative Research into the motivations of offenders who carry and use acid and other corrosives in violent attacks and other criminal acts

Commissioned by the Home Office, this project is being led by Dr Matt Hopkins, Professor Teela Sanders and Dr Lucy Neville. The work forms part of the commitment made by the Home Secretary in the Acid Attack Action Plan (announced in July 2017) to conduct research to explore the motivations of offenders who use corrosive substances (such as acid) in violent and other criminal acts. The research is being conducted between November 2017 and June 2018 and comprises of three main strands. First, working with five police force areas, a case tracking exercise will analyse the details of up 200 cases where a corrosive substance was used. Second, detailed interviews will be conducted with up to 50 offenders convicted for offences where corrosive substances were decanted. Finally, a number of interviews will be conducted with experts in the field to identify how preventative strategies might by developed in future.  Potentially the findings of the work could impact upon the law in relation to the sale of corrosive substances, police stop and search powers, first responses to acid attack incidents and the sentencing of offenders.

Voices of the Victims: exploring the impact of hit-and-run driving on victims

Commissioned by the Motor Insurers Bureau, this project is being led by Dr Matt Hopkins and Dr Wendy Fitzgibbon. Its aim is to explore the immediate short-term and longer term physical, financial and emotional impacts of hit-and-run on victims and their families. A number of  methods are being utilised in the project including: a national online survey of victims; in-depth interviews with victims using a photo voice methodology and in-depth interviews with ‘stakeholders’ such as police, road safety charities and victim support groups. As part of the project outputs a short film entitled ‘Voices of the Victims’ will be produced that will feature victims accounts of their experiences. The project will conclude in December 2018 with a national conference. At that conference we will be screening the project film publicly for the first time and also holding a photo voice exhibition of victims work. Overall, the work will not only identify the impact of hit-and-run driving on victims, but it will identify weaknesses in current support for victims and help to develop future approaches.

Find out more on the MIB website

Beyond the gaze: Working practices, safety and regulation of internet-based sex workers in the UK

Professor Teela Sanders and Dr Rosie Campbell have been funded by the ESRC to investigate how digital technologies have affected the sex industry using a participatory research methods approach which locates sex workers at the center of the work. We have produced the largest datasets of online sex workers and their customers in Europe, if not beyond, to expand our understanding of how the sex industry has changed and now operates. We have interviewed 55 police across 16 police forces and have some clear recommendations regarding policy and practice as police and others try to react to a fast changing industry. The project has produced safety resources for the sex work community, and good practice guidelines for health practitioners based on a collective consortium of practitioners and sex workers.

  • A book based on findings, ‘Internet Sex Work’, has been published here:
  • Further information about the research is available in an Open Access journal article:
  • Further information about the ‘Beyond the Gaze’ project: where 5 Briefings can be downloaded.

This study will lead to the development of an outreach info service for sex workers via the internet and a Netreach toolkit for good practice guidance on models of internet outreach & working with internet based sex workers.

Find out more on the Beyond the Gaze website

Click here for the Beyond the Gaze short film.

A postcode lottery? Mapping the support needs of hate crime victims in the West Midlands

Professor Neil Chakraborti and Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy have been commissioned by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to conduct a study that will identify the support needs of hate crime victims and determine whether existing support provision is meeting the needs of hate crime victims. The study is being undertaken using a mixed-methods approach of a large-scale survey and in-depth, semi-structured interviews in order to capture the experiences and expectations of actual and potential hate crime victims. The empirical evidence generated as a result of this project and the recommendations that come from it will help to inform and improve the wider delivery of hate crime support services in the West Midlands.

Find out more on the Centre for Hate Studies website

Identifying and assessing the risks of money laundering

Dr Matt Hopkins and Nikki Shelton have, in partnership with Transcrime in Italy and VU Amsterdam in Holland, been engaged in a project that aims to develop a model for identifying and assessing the risk of money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) in European countries and to test/implement this model in three key EU member states: Italy, Netherlands and United Kingdom. The project is funded by the European Union and based on the notion that using a ‘risk based approach’ (RBA) to assess money laundering would be beneficial to countries required to complete national risk assessments of the problem. The final report for the project is not due to be published until the summer of 2017, though an international ‘IARM’ conference was run in Milan in December 2016 where initial findings were presented.

Find out more on the IARM website

Improving the mental health outcomes of Nottingham’s LGBT population

During 2017, NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commissioned a research study about improving the mental health outcomes of Nottingham’s LGBT population. Colleagues from the University of Leicester were successful in winning the contract for this research (Principal Investigator, Dr Rebecca Barnes, with Co-Investigators Dr Tammy Ayres and Dr Clare Gunby), in collaboration with Professor Katherine Johnson, Professor of Psychology and Sexualities at the University of Brighton. The research will inform how the CCG can best commission primary and community health services to meet the mental health needs of LGBT people and to promote and support appropriate and timely mental health service uptake. The focus of the research is on improving mental health outcomes with regard to prevention, early diagnosis and self-care.

The research started in December 2017 and ends in June 2019. A mixed-methods approach has been adopted, including:

  • A rapid evidence assessment (an intensive review of existing literature and best practice)
  • Analysis of relevant statistics
  • Focus groups with a diverse cross-section of the local LGBT population
  • In-depth interviews with current or previous LGBT mental health service users
  • Interviews with key stakeholders including health professionals and commissioners of primary and community mental health services
  • Creative arts workshops with young LGBT people
  • Participatory/creative research activities at Nottinghamshire Pride

The research is guided by a steering group which includes key stakeholders from the CCG and Nottingham City Council, research team members and three volunteer LGBT community researchers who have been recruited to ensure that the research is relevant and accessible to LGBT people in Nottingham City. The community researchers will support the research team to make links to local LGBT organisations, promote the research at Nottinghamshire Pride, develop research tools, co-facilitate focus groups, help interpret the data and help disseminate the findings.

For further information and updates on this project, please contact: Dr Rebecca Barnes, Lecturer in Criminology on or 0116 252 5707.

If you have a research opportunity that you would like to discuss with us then please get in touch using the contact details to the right.

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154 Upper New Walk

T: +44 (0)116 252 3946/2458
F: +44 (0)116 252 5788


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