Why study this course?

Supported by the internationally renowned Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, the master's in Woman and Child Abuse provides a solid grounding in theoretical frameworks, policy and practice approaches.

This course is ideal for those who are working in specialised services for women and children who have experienced violence, in policymaking or delivery at local, regional or national levels, or anyone wanting to establish careers in these sectors.

More about this course

This course will provide you with a comprehensive grounding in woman and child abuse studies, including theory, research, policy and practice.

The MA course content covers all forms of violence against women and child abuse, including sexual violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, trafficking and harmful practices. Reflecting the work of the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, a specialist research unit, the degree focuses on what we know about these forms of abuse, the contexts in which they occur and the connections between them. While the main focus will be on the UK, intellectual, policy and practice approaches from across the globe will be discussed.

You'll find the course content to be cross-disciplinary, mainly drawing on sociology and including social policy, criminology and psychology.


Assessment approaches vary according to the aims of each module and how it is delivered. Examples include essays or other written coursework, and individual presentations. 

Fees and key information

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Entry requirements

You will be required to have at least one of the following:

  • a good honours degree in a relevant subject
  • experience of developing/delivering policy or service provision in the field (though the course is also relevant to those with a professional interest in violence against women and children)
  • extensive relevant professional experience may be acceptable if you do not have sufficient academic qualifications

If you don't meet the entry criteria for the MA you have the option of taking a core module as a short course and on successful completion of assessments, you can then apply to join the MA.

Everyone who applies for the course is interviewed, with importance placed on the statement of application. Please contact the course leader, Dr Sukhwant Dhaliwal, s.dhaliwal1@londonmet.ac.uk to talk about making an application, or if you have any questions about the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

Any university-level qualifications or relevant experience you gain prior to starting university could count towards your course at London Met. Find out more about applying for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).

English language requirements

To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Student visa you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. This course requires you to meet our standard requirements

If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2022/23 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester

This module will focus on methodological approaches to researching forms of violence which are primarily targeted against women and children (e.g. domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking, crimes in the name of honour, female genital mutilation, stalking and harassment) and evaluating support and prevention initiatives/interventions. Content will cover: feminist epistemologies and power in the research process; formulating research questions; ethical dilemmas and practices; survey methods, including prevalence data; qualitative research exploring women and children’s perspectives as well as those of perpetrators; creative and arts-based methods; policy-oriented research. In the second half of the module, we introduce approaches to evaluation and the specific issues, challenges and opportunities when creating knowledge through evaluating interventions with victim-survivors and perpetrators of violence. Module aims:

• To introduce feminist epistemological and methodological approaches to research
• To explore the range of methods used to build the evidence base on violence against women and children, and their creep into policy contexts
• To assess the strengths and limitations of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods for answering research questions on violence against women and children
• To critically examine approaches to evaluating interventions with victim-survivors and perpetrators of violence
• To explore the creation and critique of knowledge claims about violence and interventions

This module currently runs:
  • summer studies

This course focuses on the sexual exploitation of children and young people in UK and global contexts. Sessions cover definitions and framings, including feminist debates on the sex industry, researching sexual exploitation, evidence and prevalence, abusers and coercers, policy and legislative approaches, and promising practices in intervention, protection and prevention. Specific forms of exploitation will be explored, such as trafficking, sex tourism, abusive images of children (including 'sexting'), and online grooming. The course aims:

• To provide an understanding into the nature and prevalence of sexual exploitation of children and young people in national and international contexts;

• To explore theoretical, policy and legislative perspectives and responses;

• To evaluate the implications for promising practice in supporting sexually exploited young people, particularly in relation to the criminal justice and child protection systems.

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester

This module will focus on forms of sexual violence in child and adulthood. We will address: incidence, prevalence and reporting; theoretical and explanatory frameworks; impacts and meaning for victims/survivors; persistence and change with respect to legal frameworks, the justice system and support services; perpetrators and approaches to prevention.

This module will:
- explore the extent and forms of sexual violence in child and adulthood;
- critically examine theoretical, conceptual and explanatory frameworks;
- locate legal reform, support services and policy development in historical and comparative contexts;
- examine the impacts and consequences for individuals and for gender and generational relations;
- explore prevention and work with perpetrators in context of contemporary sexual norms and cultures.

This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester

This module introduces students to the range of forms of violence against women, their prevalence and consequences: intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, FGM and crimes in the name of honour. We will address explanatory frameworks and perspectives, including human rights, and critically assess current policy approaches. Within an intersectional framework we will:

- introduce students to the range of forms of violence against women
- familiarise students with the current knowledge base on prevalence of, relationships and contexts for violence and its short and long term consequences
- locate the emergence of the issues within social movement and social problem analysis
- critically assess explanatory frameworks and contemporary policy responses

This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester
  • summer studies
  • spring semester

This module aims to:
-To integrate the skills and knowledge-base underpinning the core modules on the Woman and Child Abuse programme and focus these on a specific question.
- To apply appropriate skills of analysis and knowledge of methodologies.
- To test the student’s ability to plan, organise and write a lengthy prose work.
- To promote critical reflection on the process of developing and executing a sustained piece of work.

To explain and evaluate contemporary research about children and families
To develop an understanding and awareness of the policy and professional debates on the family and childhood
To explore the concept of childism and promote the rights of the child to protection from harm

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester - Thursday evening
  • autumn semester - Thursday evening

The short headline definition of Healthcare Public Health provided by the Faculty of Public Health is:

Healthcare public health is one of the three core domains of specialist public health practice, alongside health improvement and health protection. Healthcare Public Health is concerned with maximising the population benefits of healthcare while meeting the needs of individuals and groups, by prioritizing available resources, by preventing diseases and by improving health-related outcomes through design, access, utilisation and evaluation of effective and efficient healthcare interventions and pathways of care.

This module will discuss the application of public health sciences to healthcare services, planning, commissioning, and provision. It will describe some of the core skills and tasks required to produce evidence upon which to make evidence-based decisions in regards to these aforementioned areas. The approaches covered in this module, are also applicable to Health Improvement, and Health Protection, but in this module, they are covered in regards to Healthcare Public Health, grounding students in this discipline, while providing transferable skills to the other domains of Public Health.

The module aims to: -

Develop knowledge and application of a Health Needs Assessment
Enhance evidence-base practice skills, in the area of evidence-based healthcare
Provide a grounding in planning, development, and design of services based on health needs, prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of illness, quality, efficiency, value, variation, and equality, on a population scale
Develop knowledge and application of service evaluation and Health Impact Assessment
Provide learning opportunities in literature searching including review and critical analysis

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester - Monday evening

This module examines the theory and institutionalized practice of human rights and the significance of human rights politics for the structure of the changing world order, and of domestic politics for both rights and order. It contextualises, analyses, evaluates and applies various conceptions of human rights that are operative within international relations, and in relation to academic paradigms used to explain international relations. Attention is paid to the transformation of state sovereignty by human rights discourse and practice. The relation of human rights to the international order is questioned in the context of the history and philosophy of human rights, liberalism and its critics and opponents, and institutions and systems of international governance and conflict. Conversely, ideas of realism and constructivism in international relations are questioned by liberal claims for human rights. The globalization and recent reverses of human rights are critically analysed. Students ae encouraged to explore particular cases of international order or conflict and of human rights’ observance or abuse in a way that is sustained and rigorous.

Module aims

1 This module contextualises, analyses, evaluates and applies various conceptions of human rights that are operative within international relations, and within the study of international relations.
2 Three subjects in particular are addressed:
i the causes of, and reasons for, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the broader development of human rights as a universalizing, globalizing, Westernizing and institutionalizing force in relations between states;
ii the variety of particular states, domestic and foreign policies, other political actors, cultures, and motivating ideologies with which human rights has come into conflict;
iii the transformation of state sovereignty by human rights discourse and practice. These subjects are problematized in the context of the history and philosophy of human rights, liberalism and its critics and opponents, and institutions and systems of international governance and conflict.

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester - Wednesday afternoon

This module will explore the concept of security as it is understood in international relations discipline. What has been the rationale for the development of a distinct concept of ‘human security’? What are the implications of the concept of human security for our understanding of security in the international system? It will then examine the application of the concept to substantive problems and policy areas. These include the impact of environmental degradation, mass population movement, human trafficking and international crime. Finally, it will assess the impact of the concept on the strategies and policies of international organisations and states.

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester

This module cultivates students’ familiarity with a range of policies and regulatory frameworks that have emerged in the context of ensuring the identification of risks and the meeting of safeguarding needs. The module builds on the Safeguarding and Security MA’s ethos of developing critical awareness of contested notions of vulnerability and policy responses addressed across core modules. This module will enable students to theorise aspects of legal reform and be equipped with conceptual tools for the evaluation of legislative procedures and policy arrangements. The module assignments are designed to develop core course objectives relating to the development of individual judgement and reflexivity and to apply evaluative skills in practice through an evidence-based approach.

The module aims to:
• build student’s awareness of the underpinning historical and social policy context of regulatory safeguarding frameworks
• critically engage students in themes within safeguarding and their relevance to existing and emerging policy and legislation
• develop student’s capacity to apply knowledge to the communication, interpretation and development of safeguarding policy and practice

This module introduces students in the main issues surrounding political violence in a contemporary world: key definitions, past and present accounts, current theories, and tactics for prevention and solution to political violence in selected settings. This introductory module presents the ethos for the course by challenging students to think critically about different forms of political violence (e.g. such as conventional and civil war, ‘New Wars’, colonial and decolonisation violence, counter-insurgencies, torture and domestic repression, demonstrations and riots, and terror) from a sociological, political, human rights and media perspectives. Ultimately, the module enables critical engagement with government responses and a comparative view of where the UK sits in relation to political violence in other countries.
The content in the module is organised in five sections: political violence – causes and consequences; the politics of naming: ‘New Wars’, genocide and crimes against humanity; Citizenship and war: refugees, Internally Displaced Peoples (DPs), women and children; Political violence and humanitarian intervention; and finally, Political violence: the role of media and social media. Students have the opportunity to return to the content addressed in this module throughout their module choice in the course.

This module aims to:

1. introduce students to the concepts of the radicalisation; its development globally in different settings, e.g. war, civil war, colonial and postcolonial times and its different manifestation including political violence
2. explore the impacts of radicalisation and political violence on governments, society and individuals..
3. explain the different forms of political violence and the political and social policy responses to them
4. provide account of mass media involvement with radicalisation and political violence and use of contemporary communication modes for dissemination and prevention.

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

The main aim of this module is to provide students with core knowledge and understanding of approaches to explaining criminal behaviour and its impact upon individuals and society. More specifically, the aims are:

To provide an overview of the measurement of crime and factors influencing the degree of error in this measurement.
To provide an account of psychological factors that are related to or help to explain crime at both a general level and in terms of specific offences (e.g., arson) and specific offender groups (e.g., juveniles).
To evaluate the contribution of psychology to the explanation of criminal behaviour relative to and in interaction with explanatory frameworks and factors from other disciplines.

To provide a brief introduction to victimology.

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester - Monday afternoon

The module enables students to design and conduct research in a public service setting (including that required for projects and dissertations), to understand key debates in public policy research and to bid for and evaluate bids for funding.

The principal aims of this module are to provide students with:

the opportunity to develop understanding of research as a holistic process, and to gain familiarity with the different stages involved in the design and conduct of a research project
an appreciation of the range of research methods and techniques available, and the capacity to make informed and appropriate choices when designing projects
an awareness and understanding of the key methodological issues that arise in research, and the ability to address them in research plans
the capacity to read critically and to evaluate published research studies
a familiarity with the policy making process
the ability to analyse the decision making process and to provide policy analysis for decision making
the ability to analyse the implementation and impact of public policies including use of the comparative method.

This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

This module explores the relationship between the state and terrorism and considers how the nation state has been the perpetrator and a motivating factor behind terrorist acts, as well as considering other reasons behind such acts of violence. Students will consider the role of the state as a protector of its citizens has been challenged by its own actions and by terrorist organisations including groups such as ISIS.
The module goes on to outline contemporary terrorist tactics and reviews the impact on national and international responses to terrorism

This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester

This module serves as a central component in realising the Safeguarding and Security MA’s objective of enabling students to develop a critical awareness and appreciation of contested views of vulnerability and responses. It therefore complements core modules addressing modes of intervention, responsibility and institutionalisation of policies. In addition, the module conceptually informs students’ perspectives on methodological approaches to researching vulnerability and violence. The module invites students to develop a critically-informed approach to categories of vulnerability and risk as an introduction to safeguarding policy and practice. The module traces the emergence of vulnerability and risk in social, cultural and political contexts encouraging students to understand their social construction in relation to broader social issues. The module equips students with a range of theoretical positions and concepts allowing sociological insight into the inter-subjective dynamics of risk and vulnerability. These include attention to dominant moralising agendas, societal influences, cross-cultural comparisons, the normalisation of abuse, precarity, and/or exploitation, and the implications of media representations of the vulnerable.

The module aims to:
• explain the historical development of safeguarding measures in terms of social attitudes and welfare policy mechanisms
• provide the theoretical and conceptual tools as a basis for defining and measuring vulnerability and risk
• explore a range of tensions between the conceptualisation of vulnerability and the effective implementation of prevention policies
• study the nature of abuse/exploitation in relation to age, gender, social class and ethnicity
• develop a systematic understanding of the complex relationship between society and vulnerable groups

What our students say

"The most valuable element of the course was being able to apply the concepts taught to practice. It also linked me into a valuable network – again both in academic and practice terms. I look back and feel hugely grateful to have had the opportunity to do the course and be taught by leaders in the field."
Founder and CEO of charity Surviving Economic Abuse, Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs OBE

"The course exceeded my original hopes and expectations. The knowledge of the staff within the unit was not only academic but was also informed by frontline work in the violence against women sector. This experience gave a depth and a passion to the lectures and course materials."
Woman and Child Abuse MA graduate

"The course has been rigorous and thorough and very enlightening. It strengthened my academic reading and writing and vastly improved my knowledge of the subject. The quality of the teaching is excellent."
Woman and Child Abuse MA graduate

"It has really shaped my way of working and given me so much important knowledge and awareness, and a conviction that we can all make a difference."
Woman and Child Abuse MA graduate

Where this course can take you

The course is particularly suited to those who are working in specialised services for women and children who have experienced violence. It is also excellent preparation for those who are wishing to establish careers in this sector.

Our graduates have gone on to key roles in policymaking or service delivery at local, regional and national levels, and some pursue further studies to PhD level, including with the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit.

Important information about this course

We're committed to continuously improving our degree courses to ensure our students receive the best possible learning experience. Many of the courses in our School of Social Sciences and Professions are currently under review for 2023-24 entry. We encourage you to apply as outlined in the how to apply section of this page and if there are any changes to your course we will contact you. All universities review their courses regularly and this year we are strengthening our social sciences and professions courses to better reflect the needs of employers and ensure you're well-equipped for your future career.

Additional costs

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Important information for international applicants

Due to unprecedented demand for our courses for the autumn 2023 intake, international admissions are now closed for this postgraduate course. Please check back at a later date to view future available intakes.

How to apply

Use the apply button to begin your application.

If you require a Student visa and wish to study a postgraduate course on a part-time basis, please read our how to apply information for international students to ensure you have all the details you need about the application process.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

To find out when teaching for this degree will begin, as well as welcome week and any induction activities, view our academic term dates.

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