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Laura Hepworth

Postgraduate Research Student

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Postgraduate Research Student in the Department of Sociology  


I am a PhD candidate within the Department of Sociology. I originally joined Durham University in 2016, completing both a BA (Hons) in Criminology and a MA in Social Research Methods. During my undergraduate years, I was awarded the Laidlaw Scholarship for Research and Leadership. My current doctoral research is funded by the ESRC NINE DTP and is conducted in partnership with Rape Crisis in Darlington and Survivors West Yorkshire.

Follow me on Twitter: @theberetgirl

Research Area

My research centres around the meanings and associations with ‘victim’ and ‘survivor’ identities, as well as the implications that these labels hold for victim-survivors of non-consensual sexual experiences. Artwork and photographs can function to visually display the powerful emotions behind identity and labels in a way that words simply may not fully encapsulate. My thesis utilises an arts-based framework to understand the multiple realities of identity for victim-survivors, as well as service providers offering services to those with lived experiences of sexual assault. 


Seminar leader for Introduction to Criminological Theory (2020 – present)

Associate Fellow (AFHEA)

Research interests

  • Sexual violence
  • Victim ideology and victimisation
  • The survivor discourse
  • Symbolic interaction and victim-survivor identity
  • Arts-based research methods and methodologies