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Unit information: Gender, Crime, and Justice in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Gender, Crime, and Justice
Unit code SPOL20035
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Williamson
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Gender has always permeated through our understandings of, and our social responses to, crime and justice. Whether focusing on the way masculinities impact on male offending behaviour or how female offenders are perceived within wider society, gender affects which laws are made, how we enforce them, and whose behaviours are deemed criminal or not. This unit will explore how gendering justice addresses wider issues of human rights, as well as inequality and access to justice. Specifically this unit will aim to:

  1. Develop a theoretical understanding of the connections between gender, crime, and justice.
  2. Explore how gender impacts on men as victims and perpetrators of crime.
  3. Consider how the experiences of female offenders are defined within the criminal justice system.
  4. Develop an appreciation of how gendered injustices, in relation to crime, can be reinforced and/or challenged internationally.
  5. Consider the social harms of gendered crime to men and women, victims and perpetrators.

Students will be encouraged to engage in extra curricula activities, in keeping with the Bristol futures philosophy, and independent learning alongside the formal teaching. Many students already volunteer for organisations whose focus is injustice. Students will be asked to investigate the ways in which national and global campaigns tackle aspects of gendered injustices and where appropriate be encouraged to look at ways of using innovative enterprise to contribute to the work of these organisations.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students should be able to:

  • Explain the theoretical connections between gender, crime, and justice.
  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the ways in which gender impacts on men and women as victims and perpetrators of crime.
  • Articulate, and demonstrate through case studies, how gendered injustices, in relation to crime, can be reinforced and/or challenged internationally.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the social harms of crime in relation to gender and justice.

Teaching details

Lectures (20 hours) and Seminars (10 hours) plus 1 reading week and 1 revision week.

Assessment Details

The assessments have been developed in order to meet the intended learning outcomes of the unit:

Formative assessment:

  • a seminar presentation of a small group project which has been jointly researched, and
  • One 2500 (maximum) word essay

Summative assessment:

  • One 3000 (maximum) word essay

All assessment is marked against the published marking criteria for that level, as stated in the Programme handbook.

Reading and References

Aghtaie, N. & Gangoli, G. (2015) Understanding Gender Based Violence: National and international contexts. Routledge; London

Begiknani, N., Gill, A., Hague, G. (2015) Honour-Based Violence: Experiences and Counter-Strategies in Iraqi Kurdistan and the UK Kurdish Diaspora. Ashgate Publishing, Surrey.

Gangoli, G. & Westmarland, N. (2006) (eds.) International Approaches to Prostitution: Law and Policy in Europe and Asia. Policy Press; Bristol.

Gartner, R. and McCarthy, B. (2014) (eds.) The Oxford handbook of gender, sex, and crime, Oxford : Oxford University Press

Messerschmidt. J.W. (2014) [second edition] Crime as Structured Action: Doing Masculinities, Race, Class, Sexuality, and Crime. Rowman and Littlefields, NY.

Silvestri, M. and Crowther-Dowey, C. (2008) Gender & crime, London : SAGE

Stark, E. (2007) Coercive Control. Oxford University Press; London.