Skip to main content

Unit information: Understanding Crime, Harm and Society in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Understanding Crime, Harm and Society
Unit code SPOL10020
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Joanna Large
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

Crime and related harms are significant issues in society. This unit introduces students to various forms of crime and harms which are prevalent in different societies including sex crimes and murder, as well as social harms that are less visible but which may have deleterious impact on people's well-being. This includes, for example, political violence, as well as harms in the workplace caused by health and safety breaches and harms in the street caused by pollution. The unit will explore why some crimes are more visible than others in the public and political imagination.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Understand the nature and prevalence of types of crime and harm in the UK and other countries;
  • Explain the role of social factors such as class, gender, ethnicity and age in terms of both the experience of victimisation and offending in relation to different types of crime and harm;
  • Reflect on why, and how, some crimes come to dominate public, political and policy discussions whereas others do not.
  • Communicate knowledge and understanding of the nature and prevalence of crime and harm visually and in writing to a popular audience

Teaching Information

This unit will draw on a blended learning approach. Students will engage with asynchronous taught content (including, for example, narrated slides and other teaching and research materials) and will be tasked to complete activities in preparation for synchronous sessions to present and discuss ideas and clarify learning.

Assessment Information

Engagement and Collaboration Portfolio based on structured exercises (50%) Poster (A4) and Annotated Bibliography (1000 words) (50%)

Reading and References

Corteen, K., Morley,S., Taylor, P. & Turner, J. (2016, forthcoming) A companion to crime, harm and victimisation, The Policy Press: Bristol

Davies, P., Francis, P., and Wyatt, T. (2014) Invisible Crimes and Social Harms, London: Palgrave

Hale C, Hayward K, Wahidin A, and Wincup E (eds.) (2013 3rd ed.) Criminology, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Hillyard P, Pantazis C, Tombs S and Gordon D (eds.) (2004) Beyond Criminology: Taking Harm Seriously, London: Pluto

Newburn, T. (2013, 2nd ed.) Criminology, Cullompton :Willan