Roxanna Dehaghani

Dr Roxanna Dehaghani

Reader in Law
Cardiff University

Tell us about yourself

I am a Reader in Law at Cardiff University and Book Review Editor for the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice.

My research, working at the intersections of criminal justice, human rights, and legal psychology, focuses on understanding the vulnerable position of the accused, particularly pre-trial. Much of my work analyses how criminal justice policy and practice can both advance and undermine the fair trial rights of accused people. To date, I have focused mainly on vulnerable suspects, criminal legal aid and criminal defence, and the appropriate adult safeguard.

Research impact beyond academia represents a significant proportion of my work thus far, and I have worked closely with numerous public and third sector organisations, particularly around the protections for vulnerable suspects in police detention. Most recently, with the National Appropriate Adult Network, I created training videos for police custody staff and healthcare practitioners in police detention, which have already been implemented across a number of forces nationwide.

Why did you want to become a Research Affiliate?

Vulnerability has always been the dominant theme within my research. Another significant interest – and theme – is how the police interpret and operationalise ‘vulnerability’ and for what ends. The Centre will hopefully provide opportunities to connect with other researchers with similar interests.

As Co-Chair of the British Society of Criminology Vulnerability Research Network, I am also keen to facilitate and enhance the links between the Network and the Centre for the purposes of knowledge exchange and collaboration, both within and outside of academia.

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

Broadly, my research focuses on the development and recognition of the vulnerable accused as a new area of inquiry. Specifically, it examines the innate and structural vulnerability of the accused, particularly pre-trial, and the ways in which policy and practice create, and can respond to, vulnerability.

In the context of police custody, my research seeks to understand how processes and procedures in police custody can contribute to vulnerability and can, through the implementation of safeguards, ameliorate vulnerability.

My ultimate aim is to improve service responses for vulnerable people and those rendered vulnerable by structural forces. My research and policy work therefore aligns closely with the work of the Centre.