Nikki Rutter

Dr Nikki Rutter

Assistant Professor
Durham University

Tell us about yourself

I am Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Durham University, and current holder of a Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre Early Career Development award. Within Durham University, I am a co-ordinator of the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA), and my research focuses on children and their families, in particular how children experience and respond to harm (both as victims and instigators of family harm). I prioritise participatory, creative, and innovative methodologies in my research, alongside Grounded Theory – a methodology where hypotheses are constructed through the generation and comparison of conceptual data – to promote collaborative research approaches.

Tell us about your Early Career Researcher (ECR) Development Fund project, funded by the Centre

In line with the Centre’s thematic steer of children and young people, I am focusing on how public sector agencies and partners can effectively respond to and prevent future threat, harm and vulnerability when the problem is a subsection of ‘child to parent violence’ referred to as ‘explosive and harmful impulses’.

The ECR Development Fund is supporting me to work with two collaborative partners, Investing in Children and Durham County Council. Together, we are hosting workshops for parents experiencing this form of harm, and children instigating this form of harm to explore who (i.e. professionals, other family members, and services) matters when seeking support; including how pathways to support could be more appropriate, intuitive, and less harmful to both parents and children.

How does your research connect to the Centre’s mission and values?

With the support of the Centre, and collaborative partners, my co-research with families experiencing ‘child-to-parent violence’ explores their experiences of help-seeking; with the intention of reimaging how service provision and pathways to support could better support these families to reduce harm in an inclusive, collaborative, reciprocal way.

What interests you in the connections between policing and vulnerability?

My background is as a social worker, and so barriers to help-seeking, responses to those help-seekers, and learning from this are of interest to me. Particularly when this relates to ‘child-to-parent violence’ which is frequently considered a ‘hidden’ phenomenon, partially due to parents’ fear that their children will be criminalised.