Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Women's research matters

The #DMUResearchMatters event offered an eye-opening insight into the social value of university research as four women talked about their academic work. 

 First up was Hazel Kemshall whose Four Pillars model is used throughout the UK and Europe to monitor sexual and violent offenders and prevent further crimes. Her research helps to develop policies and to provide better information to EU countries about international 'sexual tourism'.

 Newspapers run scaremongering stories but Hazel's talk helped me understand just how much work goes into prevention. She also talked about the possible negative effects of Brexit in this area.

Criminologist Lucy Baldwin conducts research into mothers in prison. She detailed how prison can ruin some mothers' lives, even after their release. Schools often know nothing about affected children or how to support them, and many mothers become heavily depressed or worse, believing they've failed in their maternal role.

Lucy's inspiring work gives hope to many mothers motivation and helps them succeed in recovery from substance abuses or just to get back on their feet after release. Her research changes many women's lives.
Lala Meredith-Vula spoke about the concept of 'Blood Memory' and blood feuds: a sort of former 'Alabanian Judicial' system. On 1st May 1999, citizens of Alabania held ceremonies against the will of the government to put an end to blood feuds, many of which were more than a hundred years old. Lala took photos of the event secretly, and these are now one of the few mementos of the event.

Her work has gone global, being shown in galleries and across social media, bringing together people and their memories.

The final talk was given by Vanessa Bettinson who explained the crime of coercive control, which has only recently been recognized in law as a form of domestic violence. It's a primarily psychological form of abuse that causes victims to alter their typical everyday behaviours by threatening and punishing them. 

Her work providing evidence on how coercive control works and its effect on victims has recently come to the fore as in the recent appeal lodged in behalf of Sally Challen which has resulted in a retrial. 

I was inspired by the work of all four women and learned a great deal more about the world in which we live.

Lydia Morgan

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