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Celebrating 10 years of CRiVA: Nicole Westmarland

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.

Nicole Westmarland is Co-Founder of CRiVA with Simon Hackett. Nicole and Simon were both leading on interpersonal violence in the UK and internationally before deciding to launch a new research centre as an important marker of Durham’s profile in the space.

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

Nicole Westmarland, Co-Founder of CRiVA
Why did you co-launch CRiVA?

Before 2013, we had led a smaller departmental level research group on violence and abuse but as more and more people joined from outside the Department of Sociology, we decided to expand into a multi-disciplinary research centre. Since the start, practitioners, policy makers, and survivors of violence and abuse have always played an important role in our work and direction.

Tell us about the work of the Centre

CRiVA has grown to be even bigger and better than I would ever have dreamt of to be honest. I’m particularly proud of the postgraduate researchers that have studied at CRiVA and I love hearing from them in the various roles they have moved on to and the difference they are making in the world. I also love the great times we all have together, whether that be at our weekly coffee mornings or on one of our big trips such as to Iceland recently for the European Conference on Domestic Violence. In this area of research, having a supportive team around you for the highs and the lows is absolutely vital.

I should also say that as well as our academics and postgraduate researchers, we have a lot of support from staff at the university whose names aren’t always at the forefront when you think about CRiVA’s work. This includes people like Maria Aznarez, Lucy Cawson and many others in Research and Innovation Services who help us get and maintain our grants; Durham Research Online who always share our work; Steph and Sophie in Marketing and Communications; and Event Durham who have helped us put together our 10th anniversary events. We couldn’t do what we do without our Professional Support colleagues.

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

As well as the differences that my research has made, for example in relation to perpetrator interventions, I’m also proud of the way my work impacts the academic community around me. I left school at 15 and never dreamt I would have the opportunities I have had to travel and to do the work that I do. Today, as a Professor and Director of CRiVA, I feel really privileged to be able to do what I do for a living and to try to make academia a more accessible place for others by challenging outdated traditions, doing things a bit differently, and by making space for others to do the same.

Find out more

  • Nicole Westmarland is Co-Founder of CRiVA and a Professor 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.