PhD success for PIER's Ellen Daly

Published: 20 July 2021 at 11:35

Ellen Daly is a PhD student at PIER who recently passed her viva. Her doctoral research focused on court responses to sexual violence.

Research from the wider criminal justice system indicates that victim-survivors of sexual violence who are from minoritised or marginalised groups are less likely to see their cases progress through the criminal justice system and end in a conviction. Ellen's research explored this in the specific context of courtroom narratives, with a focus on the interaction of rape myths and broader cultural narratives of social class and gender. Her methods involved observing rape and sexual assault trials at court and analysing using an intersectional frame informed by critical discourse analysis.

Ellen Daly's research found that rape myths remain a prevalent element of courtroom narratives in rape and sexual assault trials and that these are bolstered by wider classed and gendered notions of what counts as acceptable and respectable behaviour for victim-survivors and defendants. Highlighted within this were the role of digital evidence in building narratives around victim-survivors' sexual history and the construction of 'unrespectable mothering' narratives as a means of undermining child victim-survivors at trial.

Ellen presented on 'Rape, Gender and Class: Intersections in Courtroom Narratives' in an online PIER research seminar in January this year, which can be found on the PIER YouTube channel.