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Dr Helen Williams

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Lecturer in Criminology

I started teaching at the University of Leeds in 2015 while completing my doctoral research in the School of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. My PhD was principally concerned with sexualisation, sex education and the ways in which young people acquire knowledge and cultures of sex and sexuality. This included contemporary constructions of classed masculinities and femininities, the use of internet pornography as a sex education tool and young people as producers of sexually explicit content such as sexts. 

I am currently interested in vulnerability in the Criminal Justice system, particularly in relation to sexual violence, and state and social regulation of sex and sexuality. I have completed research on diverse topics such as learning disabilities and sexual violence, sex work, widening participation in higher education and social science pedagogies.

My office hours are Tuesdays 9-11am - no appointment necessary.

Teaching and supervision

I teach on the following modules:
  • CRI104 Victims/Survivors: Rights and Redress
  • SSC315 Criminology Dissertation
  • SSC341 Selling Sex: Policy, Practice and Theory
  • SSCM26 Inequality and Society Dissertation
  • SSCM43 Identities, Inequalities and Exploitation in the Media: Exploring the Digital Divide

Research interests for potential research students

  • Sexual violence
  • Sex work and sex worker activism
  • Mediated sexualities including pornography
  • Sex education
  • Identity, inequality and vulnerability
  • Media representations of crime
  • Reality TV and popular culture


I am experienced in conducting research on sensitive topics and/or research with vulnerable groups.

I have been engaged on projects examining access to justice for people with learning disabilities who have experienced sexual violence; the effects of Covid-19 on sex workers, widening participation in HE, and social science pedagogies.


Number of items: 3.


Quaid, Sheila and Williams, Helen (2021) Troubling Knowledges and Difficult Pedagogical Moments for Students Learning. International Journal of Inclusive Education. ISSN 1464-5173

Williams, Helen (2021) 'You can spot them a mile off' - Young women's negotiations of class and the sexual culture of shame. Sexuality and Culture. ISSN 1095-5143

Conference or Workshop Item

Quaid, Sheila and Williams, Helen (2021) Troubling Knowledges and Difficult Pedagogical Moments for Students Learning. In: 3 Rivers 21 Three Rivers Conference, 25 Jun 2021, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Mon Jun 14 02:47:36 2021 BST.

My areas of expertise include sexual violence particularly amongst vulnerable groups and police responses to complainants of sexual offences. I am interested in the influence of societal inequalities on vulnerability to crime or criminality and media representations of crime, criminals and victims.

As an interdisciplinary scholar, I am experienced in research which spans Criminology, Sociology, Health and Social Care, Education, Media Studies, Children and Young People, Cultural Studies, and Policy Analysis.

Last updated 26 April 2021

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