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Celebrating 10 years of CRiVA: Lynne Cairns

The Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA) was launched in 2013 and has since been designing and enhancing research-led education, policy and practice in the field of violence and abuse.

Lynne Cairns has been part of CRiVA since she started her PhD at the Department of Sociology in 2020 and became a coordinator in 2021.

Read on to find out more about Lynne, her role and passion and why CRiVA is so important.

Lynne Cairns, CRiVA member
Lynne Cairns, CRiVA member
Tell us about your role within CRiVA

I am one of the Postgraduate Researcher (PGR) coordinators of CRiVA so I help with the website and newsletter in particular. I have been a Social Worker for over 23 years with children, young people, and their families. My interest is child abuse, particularly when children and young people (who have often experienced abuse and adversity) display Harmful Sexual Behaviour. Interconnected with this, I’m also interested in children’s rights and how rights respecting approaches can help us to develop safer social, relational, and physical worlds for children and young people. I am also part of an international, interdisciplinary working group exploring ‘child focussed cities’ and how we can engage the critical contributions of children and young people towards the Sustainable Development Goals. We have/are doing collaborative exchanges in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Serbia, Brazil, and Tanzania to help develop our approaches.

Why are you so passionate about the Centre and the work they do?

CRiVA is a very special place to me as a PGR at Durham. I embarked on my PhD after completing a PG Certificate in Social Research Methods and many years of working as a Social Worker. Connections with people around me to help me to think about and make sense of very complex social issues, including my own feelings, was important to me as a Social Worker but doing a PhD is quite an individual journey. CRiVA created a space of belonging for me, even though I live quite far away in Scotland, and a place of curiosity and connections which means a lot especially when we are thinking about experiences and issues that are often deeply distressing and never have a simple answer. For me, academia is a strange new world but being a part of CRiVA allows me to connect and learn from and with incredibly inspiring, committed, and passionate leaders in their fields.

How does your work impact communities / the world around you?

I hope my work can impact different people in different ways. Most of all I hope that it can contribute towards different ways of thinking about Harmful Sexual Behaviour by children and young people so that we can better prevent and respond to harm and increase safety in young lives, including those who display the harmful behaviour. I hope that I can be a useful voice in changing conversations and practice which tends to focus on deficits, individuals and risk towards rights respecting, preventative and systemic ways of thinking about behaviours that are often very difficult to make sense of and generate powerful emotions.

What opportunities did you have working as part of CRiVA?

As a PGR, I have really appreciated being one of the coordinators. It has given me such valuable insights into the inner workings of a research group and how we can engage with different audiences beyond academia. One very special thing about CRiVA is how they nurture, support, and champion their PGR’s. Despite being so far away I have developed very important relationships with fellow PGR’s that mean so much to me as I try to navigate my way through the PhD experience. Despite being at the beginning of a new journey, I feel valued and respected due to the ethos of CRiVA which is invaluable.

Find out more

  • Lynne Cairns is a Postgraduate Researcher (PGR) in the Department of Sociology. Visit her profile
  • The Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA) is dedicated to improving knowledge about interpersonal violence and abuse, and professional and societal responses to it. Find out more
  • CRiVA’s research has received international acclaim and led to ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ impact ratings. Discover more
  • Our Department of Sociology is ranked 1st in the UK for Criminology and 3rd in the UK for Sociology in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024. Feeling inspired? Visit our Sociology webpages to learn more about studying with us.
  • If you’d like to share your story or insights into your work, visit our Submit a blog or vlog page to learn more.