Postgraduate Christmas Conference, Criminal Justice Partnership Seminar Series – 7th December 13:00-16:00, UCLan MIS

Postgraduate Christmas Conference

7th December 13:00-16:00, Media Innovation Studio




Introduction and welcome 13:00-13:10
Presentation 1

Faye Christabel Speed – Online Grooming: An Exploration of the Genetic-Social Variables Which Enable Victimization.

Presentation 2

Natalie Harrison – The development and validation of the Experiences of Sibling Aggression (ESA) scale.

Presentation 3

Laura Robertson – A Whole System Approach to Youth Offending: Multi-agency Decision-making in Youth Justice

Break 14:25-14:40


Presentation 4

Flo SeymourHorticulture, hypermasculinity and mental wellbeing: the connections within a male prison context.

Presentation 5

Tasha Mokhtar – A practitioner perspective of why some young people reoffend while others desist from crime



Questions and discussion

Chaired by Prof. Stuart Kirby


Mince pies and mulled wine



All are welcome! Please email Emily Cooper or Jayn Pearson to register your attendance by 29th November so we can order catering.



Presentation 1                                                          

Online Grooming: An Exploration of the Genetic-Social Variables Which Enable Victimization.

Faye Christabel Speed (Masters by Research)

Within contemporary society, it is evident that cybercrime has progressively become an unavoidable danger. This risk is particularly alarming in relation to the vulnerable members of society where social networking sites have become tools to target, allure and infiltrate a child’s domain. My research analyses three distinct zones which enable and facilitate online grooming: paedophilic pathways, self-endorsed victimisation and societal failures. By focusing on these three distinct areas, I will be able to identify the specific facilitators of online grooming. Within ‘paedophilic pathways’, my objective is to commence a discussion as to why paedophiles are empowered through the online world. This will initially consider the difference between online and offline grooming, and will reflect on their merging.

Subsequently, within the ‘self-endorsed victimisation’ dimension, the researcher would like to analyse target stages of how and why adolescents capacitate victimisation and will consist of two strands. Firstly, the unconscious authorization, where the adolescent is mostly unaware of their predator prompting vulnerability and secondly, self-endorsed victimisation where the researcher will attempt to understand why teenagers purposely evoke vulnerability online.

Within the ‘societal failures’ dimension, the research will attempt to investigate what preventative measures are currently in place concerning family life, the education system and law enforcement, to suggest why they are ultimately failing. The overall aim of my research will be to deliberate a contingency plan, in order to advocate an individual and societal cut-off by categorising elements of risk detection, grooming obstruction and possible further paedophilic prohibition which the target could initiate.

The presentation will provide an executive overview of the research design and justification.


Presentation 2

The development and validation of the Experiences of Sibling Aggression (ESA) scale.

Natalie Harrison (Research Assistant in Policing and Mental Health)

Sibling aggression has been shown to occur at rates as high as 90% (Relva, Fernandes & Mota, 2013). However, the measures used to gather the prevalence data often look solely at the behavioural acts of aggression rather than the functions and motivations behind them. This means that play fighting, a developmentally beneficial behaviour for children (Flanders, Simard, Paquette, Parent, Vitaro, Phil & Seguin, 2010), is often neglected and unintentionally included in these statistics. This has the potential to inflate rates of sibling aggression, obscuring the true extent of the problem. The research aimed to develop a measure specifically for sibling aggression, that distinguished between the two behaviours. Two studies are reported here; (1) the exploration of this form of family violence from the viewpoint of those who identify themselves as a victim and/or perpetrator of sibling aggression and (2) the development and factor structure of the Experiences of Sibling Aggression (ESA) Scale.  The two studies identified that participants could distinguish between play fighting and sibling aggression, with a status of dominance and normalisation being important in these instances of aggression. These themes were tested to see whether they emerged in the ESA scale, revealing a four factor structure. Overall, the research demonstrates a need to consider play fighting in research on sibling aggression so that the true extent of the problem can be established.


Presentation 3

A Whole System Approach to Youth Offending: Multi-agency Decision-making in Youth Justice

Laura Robertson (PhD Candidate, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), University of Glasgow)

This paper will be based on findings from a PhD study of the implementation of the Whole System Approach to Youth Offending in Scotland. The Whole System Approach is a Scottish youth justice policy for 8-18-year-olds based on inter-agency working; Early and Effective Intervention; Diversion from Prosecution; and, the provision of community alternatives to secure care and custody. A mixed methods approach to exploring the implementation of the WSA was adopted including semi-structured interviews with policy actors at a national level, interviews with a range of practitioners from criminal justice agencies in the local authority and documentary analysis of policy documents and guidance relating to youth justice. This paper will principally focus on policy actors’ and practitioners’ perspectives on Early and Effective Intervention and Diversion from Prosecution processes addressing how these processes are perceived to have been implemented and exploring the inter-agency decision-making processes they are underpinned by.


Presentation 4

Horticulture, hypermasculinity and mental wellbeing: the connections within a male prison context

Flo Seymour (PhD student, NIHR CLAHRC funded – School of Community Health and Midwifery)

Horticulture and the exposure to natural/green spaces has been widely accepted as having significant benefits upon a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Within the prison population, particularly amongst males, prevalence of mental illness, suicide and self-harm continue to rise and cause significant problems within prisons but also for prisoners on release.

Gardening projects in prison have nearly always existed but within the North West region, almost all prisons have a horticulture project called Greener on the Outside: For Prisons (GOOP); which aims to improve health and wellbeing, provide education in horticulture, maths and English, create a sociable, teamwork oriented environment, encourage health eating and physical activity and promote a rehabilitative culture.

Within all-male custodial settings, the issue of hypermasculine behaviours, such as aggression, violence and suppression of emotions has been reported as being significantly damaging to male prisoners’ mental health. The aim of this PhD research is to investigate whether GOOP can provide an alternative setting to improve mental wellbeing for male prisoners but also counteract and deter the potentially harmful masculine behaviours that are, evidently, a norm in most secure settings.

This presentation will focus on the themes of horticulture, mental wellbeing and male prisoners and hypermasculine behaviours as well as an overview of the first year of my PhD experience.


Presentation 5

A practitioner perspective of why some young people reoffend while others desist from crime

Natasha Mokhtar (PhD Student, Policing)

Records show that although less young people are reoffending, for those that do, their recidivism rate continues to rise. This suggests there are a significant group of persistent young offenders who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime. Further, this problem is more acute in Lancashire which has a reoffending rate of 41.9% (national reoffending rate for young people in 2013/14 is 37.8%. Lancashire Youth Offending Team (LYOT) want to further understanding reoffending, methods to reduce it and the implications of this research on their practice.

The first phase of this research was a set of interviews with LYOT practitioners to gain a professional perspective to their challenges when dealing with young offenders. The interviews included staff from a range of disciplines: police, probation, social work, education and mental health. 17 interviews were conducted with staff in Preston, Burnley and Lancaster. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis and four main themes were identified: definition of desistance, reoffending knowledge, factors relating to onset, persistent and desistance and additional factors relating to reoffending. Multiple factors were associated with reoffending and desistance from crime Practitioners also spoke about the negative portrayal of young offenders in the media, the impact of custody, the role of victims, the influence of the system and about offences committed by young people. Practitioner opinions on reoffending are consistent with current literature in the area. The talk will outline the findings from the interviews, their relevance to the literature, and the next stages of the research.