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Professor Julia Davidson OBE

Professor of Criminology and Director of the Institute for Connected Communities

Director of the Institute for Connected Communities (incorporating the Online Harms and Cybercrime Unit)

  • University of East London
    Stratford Campus
    Water Lane
    London, E15 4LZ
    United Kingdom
    E15 4LZ
  • j.davidson@uel.ac.uk

Career Summary

    Professor Julia Davidson OBE, PhD (LSE) is Director of the Institute of Connected Communities. She is recognised internationally as one of the foremost experts on policy, practice and offending in the area of cybercrime, online harms and online child abuse.

    She is Chair of the UK Council for Internet Safety Evidence Group reporting directly to ministers and provides expert advice to national and international organisations such as NICE, the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, UNICEF, Europol, the US Sentencing Commission, the US Department of Justice and the UN ITU.

    She is Chair of the Ethics Committee of the UK Independent Inquiry into CSA and is a member of the Europol EC3 Expert Academic Advisory Group and has worked with Interpol. Professor Davidson has worked with the media since 2003, working on live and recorded interviews for the BBC News, BBC World News, ITV, Channel 4, BBC, Radio 4 News, BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. She has also worked on documentaries and has published widely in the cybercrime and child internet safety area, she has written 5 books and many academic articles. 

    She has a PhD in Criminal Justice Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science and was made Honorary Research Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London in May 2010 and has been Adjunct Professor in the School of Law at QUT, Australia. She  is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. Prof Davidson has also acted as an advisor on online safety  to governments and practitioners in South America, Africa and the MENA region since 2009, recently helping the Kingdom of Bahrain (2016) and the Rwandan government (in collaboration with Baroness Kidron/5Rights - 2019) to develop a national child Internet Safety Policy Framework. She was awarded an OBE for services to internet safety in 2020. 



    Prof Davidson is Director of the Institute for Connected Communities. The Institute for Connected Communities (ICC) focuses on connected offline and online communities exploring contemporary issues including harms, cybercrime, safety, security, health and wellbeing. The ICC is an interdisciplinary cluster including world leading academics from health, criminology and cybercriminology, psychology, cyberpsychology, policing and law working across the University and wider society. The ICC has a substantial portfolio of high-quality, externally funded national and international research projects that are innovative and impact upon policy, practice and communities. Our focus is on social, psychological, legal, economic and cultural factors that influence safety, security, health and wellbeing. The ICC works with governments world wide, industry, service providers and practitioners. We also work with some of the poorest, most marginalised and mobile communities in the UK to promote health and reduce inequalities. We work closely with the UK and international governments, the safety tech industry, NGOs and charities in the online harms and cybercrime arenas.  
    PhD(LSE) Social Policy, MSc(LSE) Criminology , BA Hons Social Science 
     
    • Chair of the UK Council for Internet Safety Evidence Group
    • Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Research Ethics Committee
    • Academic Advisor to the Europol Cybercrime Centre (EC3)
    • Advisor (research) to the Technology Coalition. 

       

    Overview

    Prof Davidson has 30 years experience of directing large scale research projects and programmes and is currently co-directing an EC H2020 study exploring young people's pathways into cybercrime and the human and technical drivers of cybercrime undertaken in collaboration with partners in 8 EU countries (5 million euro). This research is supported by the EC3 and Interpol (CC Driver). 

    She has recently directed a study for the UK Government (DCMS) exploring adult online harms in the context of the White Paper (Davidson et al 2019) and has worked on research exploring the development of the safety technology sector in the UK (2020).

    She is currently also co-leading a study funded by OFCOM developing a taxonomy of online risks to guide the work of video service providers in the context of the forthcoming UK online harms legislation. 



    1. A study exploring child online protection (COP) in Rwanda which led to the development of a COP policy and 5 year implementation plan (adopted by the Rwandan Government in 2019) in collaboration with 5Rights Foundation. 
    2. EC H2020 study exploring young people's pathways into cybercrime and the human and technical drivers of cybercrime undertaken in collaboration with partners in 8 EU countries (5 million euros), this research is supported by the EC3 and Interpol (CC Driver- https://www.ccdriver-h2020.com/), completion 5/23.  
    3. A study for the UK Government(DCMS) exploring adult online harms in the context of the White Paper ( Davidson et al 2019 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adult-online-hate-harassment-and-abuse-a-rapid-evidence-assessment) 
    4. Research exploring the development of the safety technology sector in the UK (2020- https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-report-reveals-uk-as-world-leader-in-online-safety-innovation) , 
    5. A study funded by OFCOM developing a taxonomy of online risks to guide the work of video service providers in the context of the forthcoming UK online harms legislation completion 2/21 

    Collaborators

    Research

    Davidson, J, Schimmenti A, Caretti  V, Puccia A, Corbari E, Bogaerts S, Schilder J, Scally M, Bifulco A, DeMarco J (2019),  Child Online Protection: Policing and Industry Collaboration in the Prevention and the Investigation of Online Child Sexual Abuse in Bryce, I., & Petherick, W. (2019). Childhood Sexual Abuse: Forensic Issues in Evidence, Impact, and Management. US: Academic Press/Elsevier

    Davidson, J., Kidron, B.  & Phillips, K., 2019. Child Online Protection in Rwanda, London: University of East London and 5Rights Foundation. Link

    Davidson, J., Livingstone, S., Jenkins,S., Gegowski, A., Choak, C., Ike,T & Phillips K (2019) ‘Adult online hate, harassment and abuse: A rapid evidence assessment’ UK Gov,  Published by UKCIS and the DCMS. Link

    Publications

    2018-19  WeProtect ? development of a child online protection policy in Rwanda $140,000 2018-19 Centre of Expertise in Child Abuse/Home Office  Developing a  typology of sex offender behaviour £340,000  2018-19 DCMS  Rapid Evidence Assessment of Adult Online Harms  £60,000 2017- Europol EC3 & Private investor (VC ) Pathways into financial cybercrime amongst young people $100,000

    Funding

    Cybercrime, online child and adult harms, safety tech 



    Interests

    Portfolio

    Cybercrime, online harms, research methods.

    PhD enquiries welcome in these areas. 



    Teaching