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Dr Nicola Roberts


Home / About / Academic staff profiles / Social Sciences / Nicola Roberts

Associate Professor of Criminology

After obtaining my BSc Criminology (Teesside University), MSc Criminology (University of Leicester), and PhD in Criminology (University of Bath), I joined the University of Sunderland as a Senior Lecturer in Criminology in 2007. In 2009, I obtained my MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from the University. In 2022, I became a Principal Lecturer. I am also a Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE. And I have been a probation practitioner in the probation service.

I teach/supervise students on BSc (Hons) Criminology and MSc Leadership in Criminal Justice and Policing.

I specialise in teaching and researching: offender rehabilitation and the probation service, gender-based violence, research methods - qualitative and statistical analysis.

My current research projects are: analysing reports of interpersonal violence reported to UK universities; website analysis of UK universities' discourses of student safety and support; and the resettlement of high-risk child sex offenders.



Teaching and supervision

Module leader and tutor:

Research interests for potential research students

See also 'research' tab for current and recent research projects.

Specialist fields:
  • Perceptions and strategies of safety in the urban environment
  • Sexual harassment and assault in the urban environment
  • Rehabilitation of domestic violence and child sex offenders 
  • The Probation Service, CRCs and Approved Premises
  • Universities, students' safety and reports of interpersonal violence

Specialist methodology:
  • Evaluations
  • Statistical analysis
  • Discourse analysis

Current PhD supervision:
  • Offender desistance

Research

I am the research student manager for the School of Social Sciences and the research lead for the Criminology and Policing programme teams. I am an active member of the DISCRIM network and CASS, where in the latter, I am on the editorial board for the CASS working papers.

Current research projects:

Student Safety and Support Project
This project analyses all UK universities' websites for discourses of student safety and provisions of support, including mechanisms for reporting and preventing gender-based violence.

The Incident Data Project
This project analyses incidents of interpersonal violence reported to universities and the outcomes of these.

Resettlement of Child Sex Offenders from an Approved Premise
This project, analysing qualitative data using a broad framework of 'rehabilitation', problematises the barriers to resettling high-risk child sex offenders in the community after serving a custodial sentence.

Recent research projects: 

On-Campus Safety and Security Project
This project, building on the Emerald Project, asked students about their perceptions of safety and security on-campus and what can be done to enhance these (see publications Roberts, 2022).

The Bystander Project
This project, using statistical and qualitative analysis, evaluated university bystander training (see publications Roberts and Marsh, 2021, 2022).

The Emerald Project
This project (undertaken in collaboration with Prof. Catherine Donovan from Durham University and Dr. Matthew Durey from University of Sunderland) asked students about their: perceptions of safety; experiences of interpersonal violence; and help-seeking practices, aiming to enhance the safety of university students (see publications Roberts et al., 2019, 2022; Donovan and Roberts, 2022; Durey et al., 2022).

The Criminology Retention Project
This project, using statistical and qualitative analysis, found factors related to the non-continuation of students from three cohorts of first-year students on an undergraduate Criminology programme from 2014-2017 (see publications Roberts, 2022; Williams and Roberts, 2022).

Publications

Number of items: 57.

Article

Williams, Helen and Roberts, Nicola (2022) ‘I just think it’s really awkward’: Transitioning to Higher Education and the implications for student retention. Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education Research. ISSN 0018-1560

Roberts, Nicola (2022) Variables predicting the odds of failing to progress onto the second year of study for criminology students in a UK university. Journal of Further and Higher Education. ISSN 1469-9486 (In Press)

Roberts, Nicola (2022) The dark and desolate campus: what can be done to enhance students’ perceptions of safety on-campus? Safer Communities. ISSN 1757-8043

Roberts, Nicola (2022) The makings of an exclusive community: students’ perceptions of dangerous others. Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education Research. ISSN 0018-1560

Roberts, Nicola, Donovan, Catherine and Durey, Matthew (2022) Gendered landscapes of safety: How women construct and navigate the urban landscape to avoid sexual violence. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2 (22). pp. 287-303. ISSN 1748-8958

Roberts, Nicola and Marsh, Heaven (2022) A Qualitative Evaluation of Bystander Training: What Works? The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. ISSN 2059-1101 (In Press)

Roberts, Nicola and Marsh, Heaven (2021) Evaluating a bystander intervention to disrupt interpersonal violence/abuse. Safer Communities, 20 (2). pp. 62-72. ISSN 1757-8043

Roberts, Nicola and Rohan, Katy (2021) Perceptions and Practices of ‘Rehabilitation’ in a Community Rehabilitation Company: Disconnects between theory and practice. British Journal of Community Justice, 17 (2). pp. 67-85. ISSN 1475-0279

Roberts, Nicola, Donovan, Catherine and Durey, Matthew (2019) Agency, Resistance and the Non-'Ideal' Victim: How women deal with sexual violence. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 3 (3). pp. 323-338. ISSN 2398-6808

Roberts, Nicola (2019) Gender, Sexual Danger and the Everyday Management of Risks: The social control of young females. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 3 (1). pp. 29-44. ISSN 2398-6808

Roberts, Nicola (2013) Teaching Academics to Teach: About Pedagogy. Emerge, 5. pp. 1-16.

Book Section

Durey, Matthew, Roberts, Nicola and Donovan, Catherine (2022) Negotiating landscapes of (un)safety: atmospheres and ambivalence in female students’ everyday geographies. In: Landscapes of Hate: Tracing Spaces, Relations and Responses. Spaces and Practices of Justice . Bristol University Press, Bristol. ISBN 978-1529215175 (In Press)

Donovan, Catherine and Roberts, Nicola (2022) Violence and abuse, Universities and LGBTQ+ Students. In: Stopping Gender-based Violence in Higher Education: Policy, Practice, and Partnerships. Routledge, London. ISBN 9781032172477 (In Press)

Skinner, Tina, Bloomfield-Utting, Jade, Geoghegan-Fittall, Sophie, Roberts, Nicola, Smith, Olivia, Sweetland, Saffy and Taylor, Helen (2022) Ethical issues in potentially traumatising research: victim-survivors and researchers. In: Research Handbook on Ethics in Social Research. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham. (In Press)

Bloomfield-Utting, Jade, Geoghegan-Fittall, Sophie, Roberts, Nicola, Skinner, Tina, Smith, Olivia, Sweetland, Saffy and Taylor, Helen (2022) Ethics in research with victim-survivors. In: Research Handbook on Ethics in Social Research. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham. (In Press)

Roberts, Nicola (2018) Inspecting ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’: The pitfalls of an austerity managerialist approach to offender supervision. In: Austerity Policies: Bad Ideas in Practice. Palgrave, pp. 121-146. ISBN 9783319791203

Roberts, Nicola (2013) 'Probation and Risk: The paradox of 'rehabilitating' intimately violent men'. In: Constructing Risky Identities in Policy and Practice. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 163-180. ISBN 978-1-137-27608-7

Monograph

Roberts, Nicola and Price, Demi (2019) Gendered Perceptions of Domestic Violence: how young females are more likely than young males to know controlling domestic violence behaviours. Working Paper. CASS, University of Sunderland, Sunderland.

Donovan, Catherine, Roberts, Nicola, Tudor, Kate and Durey, Matthew (2016) Emerald Project Interim Report. Project Report. University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola and Durey, Matthew (2015) The Criminology Retention Project: First-year preliminary findings. Project Report. University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine, Roberts, Nicola and Durey, Matthew (2014) Teaching Gendered Violence: The impact upon students’ thoughts (and attitudes). Project Report. University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine, Clayton, John, Merchant, Jacqueline and Roberts, Nicola (2011) An Exploration of the Impact of the Coalition Government’s Spending Review on the North East and on Programmes Offered by the Department of Social Sciences. Project Report. University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine, Roberts, Nicola and Wilcock, Angela (2011) Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre Grace - Northumberland Sexual Violence Project: Evaluation and sustainability report. Project Report. University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2011) Understanding Student Retention from the Tutor’s Perspective: What can be done to develop best-practice pedagogies? Project Report. University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine, Clayton, John, Merchant, Jacqueline and Roberts, Nicola (2011) An exploration of the impact of the Coalition Government's spending review on the North East and how the Department of Social Sciences might respond. Project Report. University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2010) Understanding Student Retention: What can be done to enhance students' experiences of academic study. Project Report. University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Conference or Workshop Item

Roberts, Nicola (2022) Predicting the Odds of Failing to Progress: A Statistical Analysis of Factors Related to Criminology Students and their Progression on a Programme of Study. In: 4th Annual Faculty of Education & Society Staff Research Conference: Student-Focused, 13 June 2022, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine and Roberts, Nicola (2021) Violence and abuse, Universities and LGB and/or T+ Students. In: UCU LGBT+ Research Conference, 2-4 November 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola and Rohan, Katy (2021) Perceptions and Practices of 'Rehabilitation' in a Community Rehabilitation Company: disconnects between theory and practice. In: Future of Probation – Special Issue Seminar Programme, 3 Nov 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

Williams, Helen and Roberts, Nicola (2021) Apprehension, anxiety and awkwardness: transitioning to Higher Education and the implications for student retention. In: EuroCrim Conference, 8-10 September 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

Ovington, Julie and Roberts, Nicola (2021) Putting New Materialist and Posthuman theory to work in Bystander Evaluations: A Diffracted Reading. In: British Society of Criminology Annual Conference, Crime and Harm: Challenges of Social and Global Justice, 7-9 July 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola and Marsh, Heaven (2021) A Qualitative Evaluation of a Bystander Intervention: the problem of binaries. In: British Society of Criminology Annual Conference, Crime and Harm: Challenges of Social and Global Justice, 7-9 July 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

Williams, Helen and Roberts, Nicola (2021) Apprehension, anxiety and awkwardness: transitioning to Higher Education and the implications for student retention. In: First International Practice Focused Research in Education Conference (IPFREC), 5-8 July 2021, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Skinner, Tina, Bloomfield-Utting, Jade, Geoghegan-Fittall, Sophie, Roberts, Nicola, Smith, Olivia, Sweetland, Saffy and Taylor, Helen (2021) Building researcher wellbeing into the research process: from funding bids to beyond project completion. In: Wellbeing & Empowerment Through Funding Proposals: Principles for Inclusivity when Developing Bids, 1 July 2021, Violence Against Women and Girls Research Network. (Unpublished)

Williams, Helen and Roberts, Nicola (2021) Apprehension, anxiety and awkwardness: transitioning to Higher Education and the implications for student retention. In: Third Annual FES Staff Research Conference: Professions-Facing, 14 June 2021, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2021) The exclusive community: students' perceptions of dangerous others. In: BSA 70th Anniversary Virtual Conference: Remaking the Future, 13-15 April 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2021) League tables and the untold narrative of students’ university experiences. In: BSA 70th Anniversary Virtual Conference: Remaking the Future, 13-15 April 2021, Online. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola, Ovington, Julie and Marsh, Heaven (2021) A Qualitative ‘Evaluation’ of the Bystander Project: the problem of binaries. In: CASS Lecture Series, 17 March 2021, University of Sunderland. Available at: https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/more/research/thematic-research-areas/social-sciences/public-lectures/public-lectures-202021-recordings/. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2020) Shaping an Exclusive Community: Students’ perceptions of safety in an age of insecurity. In: Second Annual FES Research Conference: Society Shaping, 15 June 2020, University of Sunderland.

Roberts, Nicola and Marsh, Heaven (2020) A Statistical Evaluation of a Bystander Project. In: Postgraduate & Final Year Undergraduate Research Conference, 29 January 2020, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola and Marsh, Heaven (2019) Evaluation of the Bystander Project: A statistical analysis. In: CASS Seminar Series, 27 Nov 2019, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola, Donovan, Catherine and Durey, Matthew (2019) Challenging Boundaries: How students construct and navigate boundaries of safety based on their gendered and/or racialised subjectivities. In: First Annual FES Research Conference: Boundary Breaking, 4 June 2019, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola, Donovan, Catherine and Durey, Matthew (2019) Landscapes of Safety: The construction and navigation of the urban landscape by students based on their gendered and/or racialised subjectivities. In: Cass Seminar Series, 22 May 2019, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola, Donovan, Catherine, Tudor, Kate and Durey, Matthew (2018) Agency, Resistance and the Non ‘Ideal Victim’: How women deal with everyday sexual violence. In: British Society of Criminology Annual Conference, 3 - 6 Jul 2018, Birmingham City University. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine, Roberts, Nicola, Tudor, Kate and Durey, Matthew (2018) Positioning Universities as a source of Help when Gender Based Violence, Harassment and/or Hate Are Experienced by Students. In: British Society of Criminology Annual Conference, 3 - 6 Jul 2018, Birmingham City University. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola and Donovan, Catherine (2017) Agency, Resistance And The Non ‘Ideal Victim’: How Women Deal With Everyday Sexual Violence. In: CASS Seminar Series., 29 Nov 2017, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine and Roberts, Nicola (2017) Developing and Promoting Safer Communities of Learners. In: Social Policy Association Annual Conference, 10-12 Jul 2017, Durham University. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine, Roberts, Nicola, Tudor, Kate and Durey, Matthew (2017) Help-Seeking of Students. In: Symposium, Tackling Gender-Based Violence in Universities, 14 Mar 2017, Newcastle University. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine, Roberts, Nicola, Tudor, Kate and Durey, Matthew (2017) Initial Findings from the Emerald Project: Exploring relationships between structural vulnerabilities and perceptions and experiences of violence and abuse amongst students. In: CASS Seminar Series, 2017, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2016) Increasing Visibility and Control in the Environment to Stay Safe: Students’ Strategies and the Significance of Gender. In: CASS Seminar Series, 2016, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola and Durey, Matthew (2015) The Criminology Retention Project: Developing a methodology to monitor student retention. In: North East Regional Learning and Teaching Conference, Student Engagement, 2015, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Donovan, Catherine, Roberts, Nicola and Durey, Matthew (2014) Teaching Gendered Violence: The impact upon students’ thoughts (and attitudes). In: Learning Enhancement Conference, University of Sunderland., 2014, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2011) Managing Men's Risks of Harm: Women's rights to safety, and the responsibility of the 'state' for intimate partner violence. In: British Society of Criminology Annual Conference, 3 - 6 Jul 2011, Northumbria University. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2011) The National Probation Service and Intimate Partner Violence: A discourse of risk, compliant men and the acceptance of violence against women. In: Equalities and Social Justice Research Seminar Series, March 2011, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2011) Understanding Student Retention from the Tutor's Perspective: What can be done to develop best-practice pedagogies? In: Learning Enhancement Conference, 2011, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Roberts, Nicola (2009) Working with Perpetrators of Domestic Violence: Some challenges for probation-run perpetrator programmes. In: Northern Rock Foundation Seminar Series, 2009, University of Sunderland. (Unpublished)

Thesis

Roberts, Nicola (2001) ‘What Works’ in Reducing Domestic Violence? A ‘three-way’ evaluation of a domestic violence perpetrator programme. Masters thesis, University of Leicester.

This list was generated on Wed Jul 6 01:25:41 2022 BST.
  • Domestic and sexual violence
  • Offender rehabilitation and the Probation Service 
  • Women's 'safety work'
  • Evaluations

External Examiner
I have been an external (module) examiner for a suite of modules on a range of undergraduate criminology courses at Teesside University.

External/Internal Examiner
I have examined theses on domestic violence and other criminological areas.

Professional Recognition
I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Crime Prevention Group (CPG)
I am a member of the university's CPG, advising on the safety of students on campus.

In the news:

Last updated 29 June 2022