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Celebrating 10 years of CRiVA: Nikki Rutter

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.

Nikki Rutter has been part of CRiVA since joining the Department of Sociology as a PhD student.

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

Nikki Rutter, CRiVA member
Nikki Rutter, CRiVA member
Tell us about your role within CRiVA

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and have been a member of CRiVA for four years, originally joining as a PhD student when I wanted an opportunity to learn and grow alongside other PhD students, whilst being part of a supportive, collaborative community of academics fiercely committed to ending violence against women and children. My research focus is on child and family experiences, expressions, and responses to harm; specifically, how symbolic, and structural harms can be replicated and reproduced within the family context. I am particularly interested in emancipatory participatory research and practice which aims to conceptualise ‘child-to-parent violence’, and my work explores where this issue may sit on the existing frameworks of child development, domestic abuse, and child safeguarding.

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

My work is predominantly utilised by practitioners working in the field of child safeguarding, and as a social worker, I try to present and deliver my work in a way which practitioners can consider reflecting on and applying to their everyday practice. In the past two years, external to the University, I have presented my research to 861 practitioners, spoken on podcasts with a combined total of 7,017 subscribers, and presented to academics across three international conferences. My work has influenced how services across the Thames Valley and Wales engage with parents living with child-to-parent violence; and the language used by CAPA first response, one of the largest child-to-parent violence support services in the UK, when referring to this form of family harm.

Most recently, I have been engaging in multi-levelled collaborative research approaches, managing collaborative partnerships alongside participatory approaches with co-researchers living with the phenomenon of interest. This has involved working with families living with child-to-parent violence to explore how institutional responses to disclosures of child-to-parent violence (such as education, child safeguarding, and policing) could improve pathways to support, and move away from harmful criminalising pathways; I have also been working with educators, youth workers, and student social workers to explore how resources developed by and with children and young people could improve professional responses to disclosures of domestic abuse whilst awaiting specialist referrals and support. CRiVA has been an essential resource in helping me develop these collaborative relationships and a critical friend in every stage of the research process; providing space and time to reflect upon the research we do, why we do it, in a way which ensures our energies are spent committing to ending violence.

Find out more

  • Nikki Rutter is an Assistant 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.