Are victims of modern slavery falling through the gaps in the criminal justice system in England & Wales?
: enhanced victim identification, interviewing & evidence collection in the criminal justice system

  • Christopher John Goard

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Being hidden in plain sight can make the identification of modern slavery victims very challenging. This research critically examines the difficulties of victim identification for the police and within the criminal justice court system. The critical literature review highlights socio-cultural and economic methods of control and why and how this encourages victims to avoid identification. It examines the way legislation has developed internationally and in the UK with evolving positive victim impact. Applying a research methodology based on inductive, interpretivist approaches with a mixed-methods application, has produced quantitative and qualitative primary data. The qualitative research relies on semi-structured interviews with senior police officers in four major police forces in England, as they collectively represent more than half of all 2018 NRM referrals. The quantitative research shows how front-line specialist police officers rated eighty identification characteristics displayed by modern slavery victims. These characteristics have been refined to smaller groups of high-scoring characteristics (HSCs) and illustrated by scenarios to assist recall in the field. Quantified characteristics are unique in the modern slavery victim identification literature. This provides specific robust identifiers for each of the, widely used, five major Home Office Modern Slavery Typology groups. These HSCs provide a core methodology to improve training and are applied in the construction of scenarios to assist in front line identification by the police and other agencies. HSCs are presented as part of an enhanced interview technique with an integrated, proven rapport building technique to improve identification and evidence gathering effectiveness. The HSCs and interview technique are further applied to a potential methodology for magistrate courts where suspected victims can be diverted to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) system and receive appropriate justice that may be currently denied.
Date of AwardSept 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJacki Tapley (Supervisor), Richard Kapend (Supervisor) & Chloe Hawkins (Supervisor)

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