Strands: Gender, Violence and Criminal Justice

Explore Gender, Violence and the Criminal Justice System research

Feminist Responses to Injustices of the State and its Institutions: Politics, Intervention, Resistance

Feminist Responses to Injustices of the State and its Institutions: Politics, Intervention, Resistance is a forthcoming edited collection with Policy Press edited by CCSE members Kym Atkinson, Dr. Una Barr, Dr. Helen Monk, and Katie Tucker. This edited collection will bring together academics and activists seeking to document the politics of feminist interventions and responses to injustices in the Criminal Justice System, broadly conceived. This collection will challenge the endless capacity of the state to close things down and to disentangle the connections we can make within and across the theory-policy-practice nexus. It is designed to explore the radical space opened up by feminist interventions into criminology; examining injustice as a feminist issue and outlining responses built on feminist praxis. Against the current tumultuous economic, political, ideological and cultural backdrop, the contributions to this collection will explore contemporary research areas and consider new directions in feminist research, theory, policy and practice in order to present feminist criminology for the twenty-first century.

Chapter contributions come from CCSE members Kym Atkinson, Dr. Una Barr, Dr. Will Jackson, Dr. Helen Monk and Katie Tucker alongside many CCSE friends and colleagues. The Collection evidences the collaborative way that we like to work in the CCSE and is representative of the critical feminist approach taken by members of the Gender, Violence and the Criminal Justice System Research Group.


  • Monk, H., Atkinson, K., Barr, U. and Tucker, K. (forthcoming) Feminist Responses to Injustices of the State and its Institutions: Politics, Intervention, Resistance, Bristol, Policy Press.
The Policing of Dissenting Women

This research strand, led by Dr. Helen Monk and Dr. Will Jackson, seeks to examine the formal policing of women who are considered dissenting and deviant in various ways and across multiple public sites. Research into the policing of women, feminist or otherwise, is limited and this project attempts to fill the gap in criminological literature and address the experiences of women who understand the way they are policed in gendered and intersectional terms.

The first research site has examined the policing of women in protest. A significant research finding from the collaborative research project on the policing of anti-fracking protest, published in the public report Keep Moving, was the differential ways in which men and women were policed during the anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss, Greater Manchester, and the use of sexual violence by police towards women protesters. These police tactics are theorised as gendered attempts to pacify women protesters in order to disrupt their participation in direct action and to, ultimately, shape the construction of women as political subjects. This research has featured in the Guardian and has informed a BBC 5Live programme, as well as several published and forthcoming academic publications.

Currently, Helen and Will are conducting archival work to expand this project into its next phase. This work will examine women who are considered to be ‘out of place’ in social, spatial, temporal and political spheres and will inform a book project and public event.


  • Monk, H., Gilmore, J. and Jackson, W (2019) ‘Gendering Pacification: Policing Women at Anti-Fracking Protests’, Feminist Review [forthcoming].
  • Gilmore, J., Jackson, W. and Monk, H. (2016) ‘Keep Moving!’: Report on the Policing of the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp, November 2013-April 2014, Liverpool and York: Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion, Liverpool John Moores University and the Centre for URBan Research, University of York.
Institutional responses to women’s experiences of sexual violence at university

This PhD research, conducted by Kym Atkinson, explores the nature and prevalence of sexual violence experienced by women university students and the multitude of institutional responses to the issue. The research critically considers the distinctly gendered experience of sexual violence, within and outside of universities, and seeks to build upon feminist analyses of sexual violence in order to highlight these experiences. Institutional responses to the issue are considered within the context of broader state-level responses, which default to punitive, criminal justice approaches rather than incorporating feminist knowledge, arguments and interventions into preventing and responding to sexual violence.


  • Atkinson, K. and Standing, K. (forthcoming) ‘Changing the Culture’?: A feminist academic activist critique. Violence against Women. Sage Publications.
  • Atkinson, K. (forthcoming) ‘Sexual Violence on Campus: State, university and feminist interventions’ in Monk, H., Atkinson, K., Barr, U. and Tucker, K.A. Feminist Responses to Injustices of the State and its Institutions: Politics, intervention, resistance. Policy Press.
Contemporary institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation

This research, carried out by Katie Tucker, critically evaluates contemporary institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSA/CSE). The research demonstrates a political and official refusal to acknowledge the gendered elements of the crime amidst a peak in waves of public concern relating to CSA/CSE. Instead, the institutional focus between 2010 and 2015 was upon abnormalisation, racialisation and responsibilisation. The cases of CSA perpetrated by Jimmy Saville and the 'localised grooming' in the Northern towns of Rotherham and Rochdale serve to emphasise the failures of the state and its institutions to adequately protect children and prevent abuse. This research builds upon critical feminist analyses of CSA and joins the struggle to have CSA/CSE recognised as a gendered crime.

Gendered Desistance

The research conducted by Dr. Una Barr raises a range of issues regarding community punishment and critical analyses the impact of community punishment, particularly with regard to women. The research is built on a feminist approach to desistance which recognises that the majority of women in the criminal justice system come from backgrounds of abuse, economic disadvantage and have alcohol, drug and mental health issues and is concerned with challenging the dichotomy of narratives of victimisation and survival while recognising that women have agency. This research, in turn, raises significant policy issues around how restorative justice currently operates in practice not to empower women but to further control them and what policies should be developed to respond to this situation to develop a system based on social justice. 


  • Barr, U. (2019) Desisting Sisters: Gender, Power and Desistance in the Criminal (In)Justice System, Palgrave Macmillan