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Personal profile

Contact Details

Tel: 0121 204 3656

Email: e.richardson4@aston.ac.uk

Research Interests

Within the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL), I am based in the Centre for Spoken Interaction in Legal Contexts (SILC). In SILC we apply discourse analysis to examine various areas of the legal system (e.g. police interviews, courtroom interaction). We are currently interested in the journey spoken talk takes from investigative interview to written text to later be read out or performed in court.

My personal research interests centre on improving access to justice for vulnerable victims and witnesses of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault and rape. Broadly, my research interests are around how policy and guidance documents are used by people, in training and in practice. I use Conversation Analysis to analyse the ways in which we say something can occasion variations of social action.

- Initial reporting of domestic abuse (IRDA) during Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting UK lockdown, saw an increase in reports of domestic abuse to the police and, in greater volume, to domestic abuse charities. In collaboration with Professor Stokoe (Loughborough University), I am undertaking a conversation analytic study to understand how these initial reports made to police services during lockdown might differ from those prior to. This work is funded by AIFL seedcorn funding and is designed to help promote the police services as a route for victims and witnesses of domestic abuse to report incidents of this nature.

Communicating and recording crime in action: a linguistic analysis

In this project, Dr Sarah AtkinsDr Felicity Deamer, Joanna Traynor (Anglia Ruskin University) and I are seeking to understand the issues with the reporting and categorisation of ‘crime in action’ (kidnap and extortion ongoing, in real time). As part of her PhD, Jo has identified a reluctance by call handlers to categorise reports as a ‘crime in action’ due to the immediate and serious response this categorization occasions. In this project, we use a combination of linguistics methods to examine how the language used in emergency calls is transformed by call handlers into a written incident log, which despatch colleagues then either confirm, upgrade or downgrade categorizations. We are particularly interested in analysing patterns that result in miscommunication or miscategorisation of ‘crime in action’ incidents, with the potential to then contribute to research-based training. 

- Police Interviewing Vulnerable Adults (PIVA) of sexual assault and rape

I am currently working with video data of investigative interviews, where adult and child witnesses are reporting sexual assault and rape. I am examining how police officers and the witness co-produce evidence through question and answer sequences. I am particularly interested in the adherence to the Achieving Best Evidence guidance. I’ve also begun to work with some data where officers are role-playing interviews as part of specialist investigative interview training with a view to examining how this looks in comparison to the real thing. 

 You can hear more about me, my background and my research on the Society Matters podcast.

Qualifications

2010 - 2013    Loughborough University PhD Social Psychology

2008 - 2009    Loughborough University MRes Social Research 

2005 - 2008    Sheffield Hallam University BA Hons Sociology 

Membership of Professional Bodies

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (HEA)

British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL)

International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iIIRG)

International Pragmatics Association (IPrA)

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