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Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit (SOCAMRU)

Unit(s) of assessment: Social Work and Social Policy

Research theme: Safety and Security of Citizens and Society

School: School of Social Sciences


The Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit (SOCAMRU) was set up in 2007 to build upon the collaborative relationship between ongoing research within the Psychology Division at NTU and HMP Whatton. HMP Whatton is one of the largest prisons in Europe, housing approximately 840 prisoners who have all been convicted of a sexual offence: the prison houses predominantly male prisoners with a small population of transgender prisoners.

SOCAMRU’s primary aim is to conduct and facilitate applied forensic research in the area of sexual crime, with the unit sitting at the juxtaposition between the domain of prison, police and criminal justice practitioners and that of academia.

SOCAMRU has continued to broaden its focus and develop new collaborations and working relationships; members of SOCAMRU work with prison management, forensic and clinical psychologists, police and probation services within HMP Stafford, HMP Ryehill, HMP Grendon, HMP Nottingham, HMP Lowdham Grange, Rampton High Secure hospital and HMP Whitemoor. SOCAMRU also collaborates with a number of charities and public-sector organisations, including the NSPCC, NAPAC, Lucy Faithfull Foundation, the Corbett Network for Prisoner Reintegration, Nottinghamshire police and probation services.

The aims of SOCAMRU include:

  • To continue to develop collaborations and links with HMP Whatton, HMP Stafford and other local prisons, secure hospitals, the Prison Service and the Ministry for Justice.
  • To create a two-way dialogue with a range of other agencies who have an interest in the field of sexual crime (for example, Victim Support, the Probation Service, VirPed, together with offender-focused groups or organisations with a role in public education).
  • To develop research into wider themes of offending and forensic psychology, including the effects of imprisonment and the prison environment, identity, over control, personality disorder, self-harm and suicidal behaviour.
  • To continue to develop a programme of research that makes a significant contribution to our understanding of sexual crime and people who commit such offences.
  • To research desistance and develop the evidence base for what helps people stop offending
  • To offer opportunities for postgraduate research.
  • To offer volunteering and internship opportunities.
  • To utilise a range of methodologies, including qualitative, mixed methods and quantitative methods.

Members of SOCAMRU publish and disseminate their research extensively, nationally and internationally. Please contact or if you wish to learn more about our research.

Current research includes:

  • Evaluation of medication to manage sexual arousal – both at HMP Whatton and on a national level.
  • Evaluation of prison-based and community- based Circles of Support and Accountability.
  • Research on the prevention of sexual crime – understanding how people end up committing a sexual offence.
  • Collaborating on an international cross-cultural study of incest offending.
  • Research on the prison environment, and the needs of prisoners with dementia, or autism.
  • Understanding paedophilic and non-paedophilic sexual offending.
  • An investigation of the underpinnings of sexual preoccupation.
  • A qualitative study of the role of various religions and desistance in people convicted of a sexual offence.

Research from the Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit informs a range of the Division of Psychology's courses including the forensic psychology pathway on the BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Forensic Psychology, MSc Forensic Mental Health, DPsych in Forensic Psychology and a range of research degrees.

Please email us if you have any enquiries or are interested in applying for PhD study.


Safer Living Foundation

The Safer Living Foundation (SLF) is an award-winning charity that works with people who have a sexual conviction – starting prior to their release from prison – in order to support their rehabilitation, successfully reintegrate them into society, and prevent future offending.

The charity is the first of its kind world-wide and is a collaboration between experts in the Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit (SOCAMRU), HMP Whatton, the National Probation Trust (East Midlands), Nottingham Police, and Circles UK.

The Safer Living Foundation has been awarded the prestigious Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Rehabilitation and in March 2016 received the Guardian University Award for social and community impact.

Find out more about the Safer Living Foundation.

Related projects

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

The Sexual Offences Crime Misconduct Research Unit submitted a number of impact case studies to REF 2021. Discover the real-world impact of their research.

Enabling Pro-social Change in People with Sexual Convictions in Custody and Community settings

Changing Policy and Practice to Widen the use of Anti-Libidinal Medication to Reduce Problematic Sexual Arousal for People Convicted of a Sexual Offence