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Violence trends

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

School: School of Social Sciences


Crime rates have been falling dramatically over two decades, a phenomenon typically referred to as the "crime drop". What still remains puzzling, however, is why most crimes – including violent crimes – have fallen. The current gap in knowledge impedes violence reduction opportunities, not just in the UK but across the world.

To fill this gap, social scientists have joined forces to examine the fall in violence over the past decades. This project, referred to as The Violence Trends Project, is undertaken by Professor Andromachi Tseloni, Department of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University (Principle Investigator), Dr Soenita Ganpat (Research Associate), Professor Graham Farrell, Professor Nick Tilley, Dr Rebecca Thompson, and Dr Laura Garius (Co-Investigators), with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) Phase 2.

The Violence Trends Project focuses on answering the question: "What is the role of population group – and context-specific changes in personal security and routine activities in explaining the decline in stranger and acquaintance violence?"

To this end, national and international data sets, including the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), and the International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS), will be analysed. Innovative research methodology will be employed, including some that has been developed by the project members.

In addition, an Advisory Committee (AC) has been set up, which ensures a significant input from practitioners and policy-makers in the research (see "Working with Us").

Ultimately, this research will make a major scientific contribution with immediate and high societal and economic impact. Its theoretical and methodological advancements will inform future research developments in criminology.

The Violence Trends Project started on 1 February 2015, and will last for 18 months (period February 2015 – July 2016).

Follow @project_vio to join the project on Twitter.

The Conference of the Violence Trends Project

Wednesday 29 June 2016
9.30 am – 3.30 pm, Galleries of Justice, Nottingham

This one-day conference offers an opportunity for academics, policy-makers and practitioners to join in a discussion on explaining and sustaining the decline in stranger and acquaintance violence.

To find out more and to register for this event, see The Conference of the Violence Trends project event listing.


Advisory Committee

  • Home Office, Crime Statistics Programme, Home Office Statistics
  • Office for National Statistics
  • Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership
  • Life Skills Education


1. Burglary Security Project

The Violence Trends project follows on from previous work on: 'Which burglary security devices work for whom and in what context?'

This was also supported by an ESRC, SDAI Phase 1 grant (2013-2015) awarded to the research team (G. Farrell, L. Grove, N. Tilley and A. Tseloni) and led by Professor Andromachi Tseloni. View more.

2. Explaining and Sustaining the International Crime Drop

Both projects on burglary security and violence trends draw on earlier work which looked at:

Sustaining the Crime Drop in Industrialised Nations: A Crime-Specific Problem-Solving Approach. It was funded by the ESRC and the research team (G. Farrell, N. Tilley and A. Tseloni) was led by Professor Graham Farrell (2007-2009). View more.

Our key publications on this research area include:


Preliminary results have been presented at national and international events and conferences:

‘Risk and protective factors of stranger and acquaintance violence in the UK'. In the session: ‘Crime Drop Research’, American Society of Criminology, 41st Annual Meeting 2015, Washington DC, 18-21 Nov. 2015

'Routine Activities, Personal Security and Stranger and Acquaintance Violence Victimisation in England and Wales'. In the session:

'Shop theft, burglary and violence: Individual, Area and Routine Activities Factors', 15th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, Porto, 2-5 Sep. 2015

'Did Security Cause the Violent Crime Drop?' In the session: 'The International Crime Drop and the Security Hypothesis', Stockholm Criminology Symposium, Stockholm, 8-10 Jun. 2015

'On the association between routine activities and the decline in stranger and acquaintance violence'. In the session: 'Changing patterns of crime and the crime drop' Stockholm Criminology Symposium, Stockholm, 8-10 Jun. 2015

'Illicit heroin use and post-war crime trends in England and Wales.' Stockholm Criminology Symposium, Stockholm, 8-10 Jun. 2015

‘Stranger and Acquaintance Violence: National Trends and Risk Factors’. Nottingham Crime & Drugs Partnership Board, Nottingham, 14 March 2016

‘Risk and protective factors of stranger and acquaintance violence'. In the session: ‘Crime Drop Research’, Alternative Futures Conference 2016, Nottingham Trent University, 24 Feb. 2016

‘Keep burglars in the dark - Choose Safe Venues and Companions for Drinking & Dancing’, ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) Event, London, 29 Feb. 2016

Poster presentation ‘Violence Trends project’. College of Policing Evidence Based Policing Showcase, Ryton, 11 May 2016

‘Risk and protective factors of stranger and acquaintance violence victimisation in England and Wales’. In the session: ‘Victimisation and participation divides’. Stockholm Criminology Symposium, Stockholm, 14–16 Jun. 2016

‘Explaining and Sustaining the Decline in Stranger and Acquaintance Violence’. End of Project Conference: Explaining and Sustaining the Decline in Stranger and Acquaintance Violence, Nottingham, 29 Jun. 2016

‘Trends in Violence Victimisation: Incidence Rates, Prevalence and Crime Concentration of
Stranger and Acquaintance Violence’. British Society of Criminology, Nottingham, 6–8 July 2016

End of Project Conference: Violence Trends project