New research to inform national change in police approach to sexual violence

London Met's Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit collaborated with experts around the UK on a project to improve the experiences of victims and tighten the grip on offenders.

Date: 18 May 2021

The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) at London Met’s School of Social Sciences has recently completed work on a collaborative research project, which is set to transform police responses to rape and sexual offences in Avon and Somerset.

The project, called Project Bluestone, comes at a time when national reports show prosecutions for rape and sexual assault offences have continued to fall over the past three years, despite more cases being referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) across England and Wales.

Project Bluestone was funded by the Home Office’s Police Science, Tech, and Research Board (STAR) and will inform a national change in the policing approach to rape and sexual offences.

Police professionals worked alongside prominent academics across the country on the project, which aims to improve the experiences of victims and tighten the grip on offenders and help address falling conviction rates for rape and sexual assaults.

Directed by Professor Betsy Stanko (OBE), Project Bluestone focussed on five key areas: 

  • Suspect focused investigations  
  • Challenging and disrupting repeat offenders 
  • Victim engagement 
  • Learning, development and wellbeing 
  • Review of data and performance 

Senior Research Fellow Jo Lovett led CWASU's stream of work along with Professor Liz Kelly, reviewing police data and performance. The research will see the delivery of practical tools and processes which will be embedded as a specialist approach within Avon and Somerset Police’s investigations department.

The research incorporates the latest academic research into areas such as offender behaviour, with innovative policing practices including trauma-informed and offender centric investigations.

CWASU will present findings along with the team from Project Bluestone at a launch event on 26 May. 

police car