Nicola O'Leary

Dr Nicola O'Leary

Lecturer in Criminology

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Arts Cultures and Education
  • Department of Criminology and Sociology


  • BA (Sheffield Hallam University)
  • MA (University of Hull)
  • PhD (University of Hull)


I am a lecturer in criminology and a researcher with interests in the fields of victims and victimisation, vulnerability, domestic abuse / coercive control, media and crime, and identity and representation.

Having worked previously at the University of Leeds, I was appointed lecturer at the University of Hull in 2013.

I am currently the Principal Investigator on a funded research project, entitled 'Giving voice to victims: a strengths-based investigation into victim identities', supported by the British Academy.


I am the current Programme Director for the suite of Criminology Programmes at University of Hull. I am also module leader for a range of undergraduate and post graduate modules including: Development of Criminological Theory (L4); Representations of Crime (L5); Criminal Justice and Community Safety Placements (L6); Contemporary Imprisonment (Hong Kong) (L6); Crime Control and Community Safety Hub (L7).

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Book Chapter

Negotiating 'victim communities': Reflexivity and method in researching high profile crimes

O’Leary, N. (2014). Negotiating 'victim communities': Reflexivity and method in researching high profile crimes. In Reflexivity in Criminological Research, (23-34). Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Notoriety and victims

O'Leary, N. (2016). Notoriety and victims. In K. Corteen, S. Morley, P. Taylor, & J. Turner (Eds.), Companion to crime, harm and victimisationBristol: Policy Press

Journal Article

Service provider difficulties in operationalising coercive control

Brennan, I., Burton, V., Gormally, S., & O'Leary, N. (2019). Service provider difficulties in operationalising coercive control. Violence against women, 25(6), 635-653.

Public-private tragedy: Stigma, victimisation and community identity

O'Leary, N. (2018). Public-private tragedy: Stigma, victimisation and community identity. International review of victimology, 24(2), 165-181.

Research interests

My research interests lie in the interdisciplinary fields of victimology, criminology, cultural studies, innovative research methods and the ethics of researching vulnerable populations. My doctoral research and subsequent publications focus on the ethics and methods of investigating community-based and media representations of stigma, trauma and victimisation. Within this I have an identifiable interest in the management of self-identity, social reaction, transformative ability and resilience. I am an experienced researcher in the qualitative field with particular experience and understanding pertaining to use of in-depth narrative interviews with vulnerable populations, across a range of settings, who have experienced significant trauma and harm. More recently my research has focused on working with survivors and victims of domestic abuse; from how they can be supported and empowered to interact with the criminal justice system (or not), to understanding the dynamics of recovery and resilience.

Postgraduate supervision

I am very interested in supervising doctoral students in the areas of: victimology, vulnerability and resilience, media and crime and collective identity and representation.

Current PhD students:

Thomas Hammond (PhD Criminology), Surveillance, Migration and Identity in Brexit Britain

Patrick Oniya (PhD Criminology), An examination of why public sector corruption is resilient: a case study of Nigeria.