19 June 2014 09:24

Cybercrime, youth justice, sentencing, civil liberties, gender and sexualities come under the microscope at the launch of a new centre at Lancaster University.

The Centre for Crime, Law and Justice will generate cutting edge research across these key themes. The official launch, at the start of a two-day conference (June 30/July 1), will look closely at ‘victims’ of crime.

The Centre, which follows the successful amalgamation of Lancaster’s Law School with Criminology, will provide a forum for the multi-disciplinary research interests brought about by the merger.

Centre Director Dr Jane Donoghue has been at the forefront of activity to get the new centre off the ground and in putting together the two-day launch and conference.

“The centre is a way to showcase some of the research we undertake in these areas,” explains Dr Donoghue. “We produce very high quality, cutting edge research and we want to communicate this work as widely as possible to both academic and non-academic audiences.

“A lot of what we do is policy-related and so we will be working to produce a range of key publications in our specialist areas of expertise, which will be of interest to Government policy makers and advisors including the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. This is a really important role."

The centre will also focus on both teaching and internationally-recognised scholarship excellence in specialism areas and, through connections with Northeastern University in Boston, students on certain courses will benefit from a term in the US.

The forum has attracted the backing and commitment of a newly-formed advisory board which includes former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, Magistrates’ Association chairman Richard Monkhouse, victimisation expert Professor Sandra Walklate, Director of the Centre for Justice Innovation Phillip Bowen, Professor David Wexler, an expert in therapeutic jurisprudence from the University of Arizona and barrister Peter Grieves-Smith, Principal Crown Advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service.

“Our advisory board is extremely impressive and they are all people who are very keen to move things along,” added Dr Donoghue. “We will be engaging in both national and international research collaborations, as well as enhancing our teaching capabilities in these areas, while continuing to establish Lancaster University as a leading choice for students wanting to study criminology and law.”

The launch will hear three keynote speakers from the advisory board. Centre academics will then speak about their areas of specialist research including hate crimes, sexual offences, organised crime gangs, technology crimes and the transformation of criminal justice, which are being chaired by leading academics and practitioners in these areas.

Representatives from the Police, Probation, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and numerous NGOs are also participating in the event.