Vulnerability assessment in criminal justice

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Cumbria

In Collaboration With

Cumbria Constabulary

Principal Researcher

Rob Ewin

Level of Research


Project Start Date

May 2014

Research Context

​This study will concentrate specifically on vulnerable and repeat victims of crime in relation to general penal aspects but specifically with reference to ‘Special Measures’ under the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (YJCE) and Vulnerability Assessment. The study will attempt to address the numbers of victims who fail to be identified as vulnerable or are not assessed against the ‘Special Measures’ assessment criteria. There is clear evidence to suggest that Police fail to identify and maintain ‘Special Measures’ provisions in criminal cases and the effect of this is and a lack of vulnerability assessment is also an understudied area (Neild, Milne, Bull and Marlow, 2003; Cooper and Roberts, 2005).

This research is supported by the College of Policing Bursary Scheme.

Research Methodology

​Byrne and Lurigio (2009) describe how Criminal Justice agencies can be sceptical about research of their practice conducted away from their control. Therefore through the methodology of Deliberative Inquiry, involving participants from Police, Crown Prosecution Service, Witness Care, Social and Health services this study will seek their views set against empirical qualitative data demonstrating evidence of the number of cases involved, and the types of assessment by respective agencies. The attention paid to the assessments already in place across the Criminal Investigation and Health sectors in relation to Vulnerability Assessment represent an original contribution to knowledge in this project. This study will be the first of its kind for the University of Cumbria in the facility of Policing Investigation

Interim reports and publications

Ewin, R. (2015) The Vulnerable and Intimidated witness; a socio-legal analysis of Special Measures. Journal of Applied Psychology and Social Science, 1 (2) 31-54

Ewin, R. (2016) The Vulnerable and Intimidated Witness: a study of the Special Measure Practitioner. Journal of Applied Psychology and Social Science, 2 (1), 12-40

Ewin, Robert (2017) Deliberative inquiry, criminal justice, and vulnerability. Journal of Applied Psychology and Social Science, 3 (1). pp. 33-51

Ewin, Robert (2017) Vulnerable witnesses: addressing the issues within contemporary criminal justice systems. In: Interdisciplinary Research on Violence and Conflict seminar, 29 March 2017, University of Cumbria, Lancaster

Ewin, R. (2018). Video recorded cross-examination or re-examination: a discussion on practice and research. Journal of Applied Psychology and Social Science, 4(1), 22-38

Date due for completion

March 2019
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