BPS Research Seminar

The University of Leicester (Dr. Ruth Hatcher) and Coventry University (Dr. Kate Walker and Dr. Emma Sleath) are jointly hosting a British Psychological Society funded Research Seminar Series on Developing theory, research, and evidence-based practice in responding to Technology Facilitated Sexual Violence.

Henry and Powell (2016, p1.) define technology facilitated sexual violence (TFSV) as “a range of criminal, civil, or otherwise harmful sexually aggressive and harassing behaviors that are perpetrated with the aid or use of communication technologies”. Despite the availability of empirical research highlighting how technology has been used to facilitate interpersonal harms such as domestic violence (Burke, Wallen, Vail-Smith, & Knox, 2001), cyberstalking (Sheridan & Grant, 2007), and sexual exploitation (Mitchell, Jones, Finkelhor, & Wolak, 2011), there is very little research addressing how these technologies are being used as tools to aid sexual abuse and harassment (Henry & Powell, 2016). As such, very little is known about the individuals that perpetrate these harmful behaviours and their motivations, or the psychological, physical, and quality of life effects of this abuse on the victims themselves.

Given the gaps in collective knowledge, the proposed seminar series, comprising three seminars, will seek to:


1. consolidate existing, and develop new, links between academics, policy-makers, the police, victim services, and education professionals with the aim of developing a network of researchers and practitioners with interests relating to technology facilitated sexual violence;


2. disseminate existing research information and knowledge of current practice relating to responses to TFSV within the network of researchers and practitioners;


3. identify improvements to existing policy and practice to maximise support for the victims of TFSV, identify how to intervene in TFSV, and to reduce attrition from the criminal justice process;


4. develop a forward-thinking agenda that addresses key gaps in research and related theory, practice, and policy with a focus on long-term sustainability.


The seminar series aims to draw together a diverse, interdisciplinary group of researchers (including those early in their career), alongside key practitioners, to collaborate in achieving the aims of the seminar series in understanding and addressing technology facilitated sexual violence.

The first seminar, hosted by the University of Leicester on the 20th September 2018, will focus on “Understanding the needs of victims of TFSV and identifying effective interventions” and aims to disseminate acquired knowledge and identify key gaps in relation to the responses to, and the provision of support for, the victims of TFSV.

Confirmed speakers at this event are:

Dr. Anastasia Powell, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Professor Erika Rackley, University of Birmingham, UK

Antoinette Huber, John Moores University, Liverpool, UK

Dr. Emma Sleath, Coventry University, UK

Dr. Ruth Hatcher, University of Leicester, UK

Folami Prehaye, Founder of VOIC.org.uk

The event is £15 to attend. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Please register via shop.le.ac.uk


The second seminar will be held at Coventry University in Spring 2019 and will aim to outline present knowledge of the perpetration of TFSV and the current police and criminal justice responses to these abuses. It will consider how policy and practice could be amended to better support the police, the CPS, and the victim through the criminal justice process to a successful prosecution. Further, it will identify gaps in collective knowledge to inform discussions relating to the developing research agenda.

Further details will be available soon. To register your interest in this second seminar, please email Dr. Ruth Hatcher: rmh12@le.ac.uk.

Please click here for the flyer

Funding for this seminar series was awarded by the British Psychological Society through the Research Seminars Competition.

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