Dr Olivia Smith

Lecturer, Criminology

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences

Department:Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Criminology

Courses taught: Criminology, Criminology and Sociology

Olivia is an expert on court responses to rape and teaches on a range of criminology modules including the modules Adventures in Criminal Justice, Media & Crime, and Violent Crime.

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Olivia joined Anglia Ruskin in 2014 from the University of Bath, where she completed her PhD (2013), Masters in Research (2010) and BSc Social Sciences (2009). Her research focuses on court responses to sexual and domestic violence, with her PhD using observations of rape and sexual assault trials to explore how concepts of justice are played out in such cases. Olivia is keen for research to have a real-world impact and regularly discusses her findings with practitioners.

As co-convener for the British Sociological Association’s violence against women study group, Olivia is able to place her research in a wider academic community; leading to her work being nominated for several awards. Most recently, she was shortlisted for the 2014 Ede and Ravenscroft Prize and 2013 Corinna Seith Prize. In addition, Olivia has been involved in frontline responses to vulnerable women and welcomes opportunities to develop this further.

Research interests

  • Courts
  • Violence against women
  • Sexual violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Concepts of justice
  • Criminal justice process
  • Adversarialism
  • Human rights in the trial process

Areas of research supervision

  • Violence against women
  • Transnational organizations, new media, and the prevention of violence against women
  • Criminal justice and rape


  • PhD Sociology, University of Bath 
  • MRes Sociology, University of Bath
  • BSc (Hons) Social Sciences, University of Bath

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member, British Sociological Association
  • Co-Convener of the BSA violence against women study group

Selected recent publications

Smith, O., 2013. Court Responses to Rape and Sexual Assault Trials. PhD thesis. University of Bath, UK.

Smith, O. and Skinner, T., 2012. Observing Court Responses to Victims of Rape and Sexual Assault. Feminist Criminology, 7(4) pp.298-326.

Recent presentations and conferences

Smith, O., 2014. Rape Myths in Sexual Violence Trials: New Perspectives. British Society of Criminology Annual Conference, Liverpool, UK, 10-12 July 2014.

Smith, O., 2014. Rights, Violence and Crime Stream Plenary: Violence against Women and Human Rights. British Sociological Association Annual Conference, Leeds, UK. 23-25 April 2014.

Smith, O., 2013. Independent Sexual Violence Advisors in Court. Focus on Sexual Violence, University of Worcester, UK, 28 November 2013.

Smith, O., 2013. Violence against Women: How Far Have We Come? Cambridge Festival of Ideas, University of Cambridge, 23 October 2013.

Smith, O., 2013. Practicalities, Rape Myths and 'Rationality': An Exploration of Court Responses to Rape. Rape and the Criminal Justice System, Centre for Gender and Violence Research at Bristol University, 28 June 2013.

Smith, O., 2013. Court Responses to Rape and Sexual Assault Workshop. Rape Crisis Annual Conference, Birmingham, 12 February 2013.