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    Shaping opinions: the CCRC annual conference


    The Crime and Conflict Research Centre tackles tough issues during its annual conference

    Middlesex University's School of Law is home to a number of pioneering research units; among them, the Crime and Conflict Research Centre (CCRC).

    Each Centre's aim is to carry out innovative research in specialist areas that can help shape opinion and lead to tangible change in society.

    One of the key tools for the CCRC to help it further new ways of thinking is its annual conference, which allows departmental staff members to showcase their work and encourage public debate with the assistance of high-profile speakers who are experts on the subject at hand.

    This year's event, which was held in April, was led by the School's Dr Erin Sanders-McDonagh and Dr Lucy Neville, and explored feminist debates around violence, sex work and pornography – industries in which women are typically framed as victims and men as perpetrators.

    Appearing alongside Dr Sanders-McDonagh and Dr Neville were sex work activists from the International Union of Sex Workers, representatives from the English Collective of Prostitutes and academics from other institutions, who contributed to talks, debates and roundtable discussions during the day-long conference at the University's Hendon campus.

    By bringing together a wide range of experts on this hard-hitting and current topic, especially given the recent decision by the government to introduce a so-called 'porn filter' for UK broadband customers, the CCRC reinforced its relevancy to both the School and wider society.

    Topicality was equally central to the 2013 conference, which celebrated the 35th anniversary of the publication Policing the Crisis (1978). This seminal text in the field of Sociology and Criminology explores how the government, law enforcement agencies and the media can combine to create a moral panic over a perceived new threat.

    Although the original text focused on the development of 'mugging' as a concept in the 1970s, the theories it contains are just as relevant to more recent moral panics such as that concerning paedophilia.

    Following these two successes, the 2015 edition of the CCRC spring conference is set to be an essential event for both academics and students interested in contemporary law issues.

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