The core team of Director, Associate Directors and Associates is drawn from eight Departments and 3 Faculties. There are 8 professors, 4 lecturers, and 2 senior research associates.  In addition, there are 36 Lancaster academic affiliates; and 25 non-Lancaster affiliates.

The core team has links with three Lancaster University Institutes/Centres: Institute for Social Futures (Nick Dunn; Sylvia Walby); Security Lancaster (Corinne May-Chahal; Sylvia Walby); and Institute for Data Science (Karen Broadhurst; Brian Francis).

We cooperate and coordinate our efforts in a variety of ways.  Most importantly, we engage on how violence inflects or shapes our research fields.  We jointly bid for funded research projects; run events; discuss  relevant developments; and engage in public policy debate.  The core group of Director and Associate Directors meets weekly.

Core Team

Professor Sylvia Walby OBE (Director)

Sylvia Walby OBE, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Gender Research, is Director of the Violence & Society UNESCO Centre.  

Professor Brian Francis (Associate Director)

Brian Francis is Professor of Social Statistics at Lancaster University, a Chartered Statistician and Associate Director of the Violence & Society UNESCO Centre. 

Dr Jude Towers (Associate Director)

Jude Towers is Doctor of Applied Social Statistics and a lecturer in Sociology and Quantitative Methods at Lancaster University. She is an Associate Director of the Violence & Society UNESCO Centre.


Dr Susie Balderston

Susie Balderston is Senior Research Associate in the Department of Sociology.  She works to prevent and tackle sexual violence against women, trafficking, disablist hate crime, institutional abuse, preventable deaths and assisted suicide. 

Professor Karen Broadhurst

Karen Broadhurst is Professor of Social Work and Socio-Legal Studies in the Department of Sociology and Director of the new Centre for Child and Family Justice Research. Her research interests focus on State intervention in family life and alternative approaches to family court proceedings.

Professor Nick Dunn

Nick Dunn is Professor of Urban Design and Research Director of the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts at Lancaster University. He is also Associate Director for the Institute for Social Futures, where he leads research in the Future of Cities and Urbanism. 

Dr Karolina Follis

Karolina Follis is Faculty Fellow in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion and Security Lancaster. Trained as a socio-cultural anthropologist, she pursues interdisciplinary research on borders, citizenship, security and human rights. 

Dr Claire Hardaker

Claire Hardaker is a Lecturer in forensic corpus linguistics in the Department of Linguistics at Lancaster University.  She researches online aggression, deception, and manipulation. In particular, she has researched and worked alongside Twitter in pursuit of a safer internet.

Dr Les Humphreys

Les Humphreys is a Lecturer in quantitative criminology in the School of Law.  His interests lie in criminal career research, longitudinal studies of crime patterns, and methodological development.  He uses official criminal history data from the police and courts, and data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales. 

Professor Kim Knott

Kim Knott is Professor of Religious and Secular Studies at Lancaster University, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats ( Her background is in the history and sociology of religions.

Professor Corinne May-Chahal

Corinne May-Chahal is Professor of Applied Social Scientist and Head of the Department of Sociology.   She has researched responses to violence against children through several EU collaborations.

Emma Palmer

Emma Palmer is a Lecturer in Social Work in the Department of Sociology and a registered social worker in England. Emma’s practice experience lies in child protection and child trafficking. 

Professor Jennie Popay

Jennie Popay is Professor of Public Health in the Faculty of Health and Medicine, Director of Engagement NIHR CLAHRC NW Coast and Deputy Director NIHR School for Public Health Research 

Dr Sarah Becklake

Sarah Becklake is an ESRC-funded Post-Doctoral Research Fellow working at the intersection of tourism and (in)securities. Her research interests include mobilities, development, security, and inequalities.

Dr Charlotte Barlow

Charlotte Barlow is a Lecturer in Criminology in the Law School. Her interests are domestic abuse and violence against women more broadly, in particular police and practitioner responses to domestic abuse. She is also interested in the ways in which domestic abuse influences women’s offending behaviour and pathways into crime.

Dr Claire Fitzpatrick

Claire Fitzpatrick is a Lecturer in Criminology in the Law School. Her research interests include: children in the care and criminal justice systems, care leavers, and processes of criminalisation. She is also interested in desistance, imprisonment, gender and offending pathways, and the treatment of girls and women in conflict with the law.

PhD Students

Current PhDs

Linta Mathew (Sociology, Environment and Society)

‘Gendered implications of climate change: Lessons from the Indo-Gangetic plains in India.’ Supervised by Sylvia Walby and Monika Buscher.

Geoff Burrows (Sociology)

‘HM Prisons – violence, gender regimes, and violence against women: a study in complexity.’ Supervised by Corinne May-Chahal and Sylvia Walby; ESRC funded.

Jess Phoenix (Sociology)

‘Measuring and investigating the repetition of crime to improve police performance: A focus on situations of domestic violent crime and vulnerability.’ Supervised by Les Humphreys, Sylvia Walby and Jude Towers. ESRC funded. Start date: October 2017.

Valmira Hoti-Llabjani (Applied Social Statistics)

‘Attitudes to immigration and human values – an European investigation.’ Supervised by Brian Francis.

Gabriele Scallon (Psychology)

‘Investigating cross modal correspondences.’ Supervised by Peter  Walker and Brian Francis. Submitted.

Becky Taylor (Applied Social Statistics)

‘Outlier detection in latent structure models.’ Supervised by Brian Francis and Robin Mitra

Elouise Davies (Applied Social Statistics)

‘Is Domestic Violence Violent Crime?’ Supervised by Brian Francis, Jude Towers and Sylvia Walby; ESRC funded. Start date: October 2018

Chantelle Clark (Applied Social Statistics)

‘Is Domestic Violence Violent Crime?’ Supervised by Brian Francis, Jude Towers and Sylvia Walby; ESRC funded. Start date: October 2018

Completed PhDs

Amy Elliot (Applied Social Statistics) ‘An examination of recidivism through the statistical analysis of the Offenders Index.’ Supervised by Brian Francis.

Ece Kocabicak (Sociology) ‘Theorising the relationship between patriarchies and capitalisms: The case of Turkey.’

Stephanie Wallace (Social Statistics) ‘Developing methods to measure sentence severity and assess disparity in sentencing in the criminal courts of England and Wales.’ Supervised by Brian Francis and Les Humphreys; ESRC funded.

Claire Hargreaves (Social Statistics) ‘Measuring the long term sexual recidivism risk of convicted sex offenders in England & Wales and Norway’; supervised by Brian Francis and Les Humphreys; ESRC funded.

Richard Mills (Social Statistics) ‘Distributed moderation systems: an exploration of their utility and the social implications of their widespread adoption.’ Supervised by Brian Francis and Roger Penn; ESRC funded.

Philippa Olive (Sociology) ‘Classifications of intimate partner violence in hospital-based emergency department health systems’; supervised by Sylvia Walby and Tony Gatrell; NIHR funded.

Jude Towers (Social Statistics) ‘Economic inequality and intimate partner violence against women: an analysis of the British Crime Survey 2008/9’; supervised by Brian Francis and Sylvia Walby; ESRC funded.

Jiayi Liu ( Social Statistics) ‘Statistical modelling of escalation in crime seriousness: through survival analysis, mixed-effects and mixture modelling approaches.’ Supervised by Brian Francis; ESRC funded.

David Mansley (Sociology) ‘Collective violence, democracy and protest policing: Protest events in Great Britain, 1999-2009’; supervised by Sylvia Walby and Ian Paylor; ESRC funded.