The global pandemic as an enabler for change? Policing and Court Responses in England and Wales to the Shadow Pandemic 2020-21

Professor Sandra Walklate, Professor Barry Godfrey, Dr Jane Richardson

1Liverpool University, England

The global pandemic resulted in concerns across a wide range of jurisdictions regarding the impact of the associated public health requirements to ‘stay at home’ on the nature and extent of domestic abuse. This issue in itself has generated a wealth of research and empirical findings. Less work has concerned itself with the impact of these public health requirements on the nature of criminal justice response to domestic abuse. This has been the focal concern of our ESRC funded project covering June 2020 to December 2021. This project has tracked both policing and court responses to domestic abuse in England and Wales throughout this time period paying particular attention to the challenges and changes it has provoked for service delivery. The paper will present an overview of the findings generated by our work paying attention to the lessons learned during this time, the extent to which changes in service delivery and innovative practices have been found to be efficacious alongside the consequences of missed opportunities for thinking differently about service delivery. Especial attention will be paid to what learning might be of benefit from the findings of this project for policing and court responses to domestic abuse in other jurisdictions.


Professor Sandra Walklate is Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology at the University of Liverpool (UK) conjoint Professor of Criminology, Monash (Australia) and currently President of the British Society of Criminology.  She is the PI on the ESRC funded project Domestic Abuse: Responding to the Shadow Pandemic (ES/V00476X/1) and her recent publications include The Emerald Handbook of Feminism, Criminology and Social Change  (2020) co-edited with Kate Fitz-Gibbon, JaneMaree Maher and Jude McCulloch.


Dec 09 2021