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Research projects

Physical and Legal Security and the Criminal Justice System (2009-2011)

About this project

Project information

Project status




Research subject

Research environments

This project examines progress towards equality, human rights and good relations and assesses the challenges facing Criminal Justice System agencies in meeting the new public sector duty to promote equality, due to come into force in April 2011, in Britain. This duty extends the existing duties to promote equality on race/ethnicity, gender and disability to other protected equality groups (by religion/belief, age, sexual orientation, gender identity) as part of the Equality Act 2010.

The focus is physical and legal security in relation to the Criminal Justice System. The main areas of physical security include: homicide; other violence against the person, including domestic or intimate partner violence, sexual violence and hate crime; and physical security in institutional settings. The main areas of legal security include the extent to which offences are brought to justice and equal treatment in and by the Criminal Justice System. The terms physical and legal security are used by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the Equality Measurement Framework, drawing on a capabilities framework.

Emphasis is placed on evidence and the analysis of objective outcomes as opposed to subjective attitudes and perceptions, primarily because of the robustness of the former in comparison to the latter, but also because the selection of outcomes corresponds to the prioritization recommended by the British Equalities Review (2007).

The project addresses all the protected equality strands, as well as other disproportionately affected groups wherever there is available and relevant evidence. Due to the current unevenness in data collection and availability across the strands, the majority of evidence used relates to gender, disability and race/ethnicity. Data on other equalities groups is drawn upon where available (often from small scale studies rather than surveys).

For most of the topics examined, data is sourced from either police ‘recorded crime’ or from the British (and Scottish) Crime Survey, as appropriate. Where there is no relevant data from these sources, smaller scale studies and alternative administrative sources are used.


Research funding bodies

  • Equalities and Human Rights Commission