Criminal Justice Unit hosts major conference double bill

Issue date: 15 July 2008

UWE - Frenchay Campus The Criminal Justice Unit at the University of the West of England, will host two important one day conferences in September. 'Managing high risk sex offenders in the community' (8 September 2008) and 'Sexual offences and criminal justice: challenging myths, supporting victims' (9 September 2008).

On 8 September 2008 the focus will be on the way in which high-risk sex offenders can be effectively monitored when they are eventually released into the community. The conference aims to evaluate the measures used in the treatment and risk management of sex offenders and questions whether such high-risk offenders can be effectively managed within the community. The conference is aimed at probation, prison and police officers; psychologists and psychotherapists; lawyers, judges, prosecutors; educators, voluntary workers and academics.

The Conference on 9 September 2008 will examine the nature and effect of myths and negative social attitudes on the enforcement of the law regarding sexual offences. Despite significant law reform in the last thirty years, and efforts by the police service and other criminal justice agencies to improve the treatment of complainants, the conviction rate in rape cases is falling and attempts to improve agency responses to sexual offences have had mixed results. The conference will examine the influence of rape myths in wider society and the criminal justice process, discuss original empirical research findings and examine attitudes to female, male and child sexual victimization.

Phil Rumney, organizer for the 9 September event, says, “There is a large body of evidence suggesting that social attitudes, myths and stereotypes negatively impact on the enforcement of the criminal law in cases involving sexual offences. This event is the first to be organized that brings together researchers and criminal justice professionals to discuss the problem and possible solutions.”

On 9 September the speakers include: Professor Charnelle van der Bijl LLD (Stellenbosch University, South Africa); Louise Ellison (University of Leeds); Joanna Jamel (University of Leicester); Vanessa Munro, (University of Nottingham); Fiona Raitt, (University of Dundee); Phil Rumney, (UWE); Jennifer Temkin LLD, (University of Sussex); Carol Withey, (University of Greenwich). In addition, HHJ Judge Peter Rook QC will speak on, 'The nature of judicial training in respect of the trial of serious sexual offences' and Dr Kate Cook (Manchester Metropolitan University) will be giving a paper entitled: 'Rape Crisis: Responding to Sexual Violence'.

The speakers on 8 September include Dr Sarah Brown, (Chartered Forensic Psychologist); Professor Stephen Shute, (University of Birmingham); Dr Bernadette Rainey, (Cardiff Law School); Professor Terry Thomas, (Leeds Metropolitan University); Mark Farmer, (Head of the Sex Offender Team in the Public Protection Unit of the National Offender Management Service); Jason Wood, (De Montfort University); Dr Karen Harrison (UWE).


Editor's notes

For further information on the conferences contact: or

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