Professor Kim Stevenson

Professor Kim Stevenson

Professor of Socio Legal History

School of Law, Criminology and Government (Faculty of Business)


Professor of SocioLegal History and Deputy Director Research Centre for Law and Criminal Justice. 
Co-director SOLON: Promoting Interdisciplinary Studies  in Law Crime and History Joint editor Law Crime and History  and General Editor for a new book series Routledge SOLON Explorations in Crime and Criminal Justice Histories.


PhD (Nottingham Trent); LLB(Hons)  

Kim joined the University of Plymouth in 2004 and formerly taught at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, for 15 years where she lectured Constitutional and Administrative Law and Sexuality and the Law; she has also taught courses as part of business studies, surveying, social sciences and criminology degrees. She was also a visiting professor at the William Mitchell College of Law, St Paul, Minnesota, USA and the Open University Hong Kong.

Roles on external bodies

Member ESRC Peer Review College July 2010 to present (ESRC reviewer since 2008)
Peer reviewer Australian Research Council

Teaching interests

English Legal System

Legal Skills

Criminal Law

Sex  Power and Legal Control

Law in Context

Research interests

Research interests and expertise

include historical and contemporary aspects of the criminal law with particular emphasis on sexual offences, sexuality, morality and violence. She has currently published a monograph with Judith Rowbotham and Samantha Pegg (Nottingham Trent) Crime News in Modern Britain: Press Reporting and Responsibility 1850-2010 (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). She jointly edited with Jones, Grear, Fenton, Gender, Sexualities and the Law (Routledge 2011); and with Rowbotham, Criminal Conversations: Victorian Crimes, Social Panic and Moral Outrage (Ohio State University Press 2005) follow-up to Behaving Badly: Visible Crime, Social Panics and Legal Responses - Victorian and Modern Parallels (Ashgate, 2002).

Joint Director SOLON: Promoting Interdisciplinary Studies in Law, Crime and History and Co-Editor of international refereed e-journal  Law, Crime and History This is an inter-institutional and collaborative research project drawing primarily on legal and historical perspectives. Universities leading the project are Nottingham Trent, Oxford Brookes, Plymouth, Liverpool John Moores and West of England. 

Lead General Editor Routledge SOLON Explorations in the Histories of Crime and Criminal Justice Book Series launched 2012.

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Director of Studies: Iain Channing ‘Blackshirts and White Wigs: Reflections on Public Order Law and the legacy of the British Union of Fascists in Modern Extremism University bursary awarded March 2014

Director of Studies: Henry Yeomans  (Plymouth) Spirited Measures and Victorian Hangovers: Public Attitudes to Alcohol, the Law and Moral Regulation ESRC 3+ 1 funded bursary awarded May 2012

Director of Studies: Jane Abbott, (Nottingham Trent University) Contemporary Analogies, Victorian Parallels; Juvenile Delinquency - Causation, Continuity and Change in the periods 1840-1880 and 1980-2000, awarded November 2004 

Key publications are highlighted

STEVENSON K 2017 'Writing the History of Crime. By Paul Knepper. Bloomsbury. 2016. 241pp. £19.99' History 102, (349) 114-116 , DOI
Stevenson KA 2016 '“Not just the ideas of a few enthusiasts”: Early Twentieth Century Legal Activism and Reformation of the Age of Sexual Consent' Cultural and Social History 14, (2) 219-236 , DOI PEARL
Stevenson KA 2016 ''These are cases which it is inadvisable to drag into the light of day:’ Disinterring the Crime of Incest in Early Twentieth Century England' Crime, History and Societies PEARL
Stevenson KA 2016 'The Sexual Constitution of Political Authority: The 'Trials' of Same Sex Desire' , DOI PEARL
Stevenson KA, Rowbotham J & Lowther J 2015 'Reparation for Betrayal of Trust in Child Sexual Abuse Cases. The Christian Duty of Care, Vicarious Liability and the Church of England' Australian Feminist Law Journal , DOI PEARL
Stevenson K 2012 ''It is What "Girls of Indifferent Character" Do ...' Complications concerning the Legal Age of Sexual Consent in the Light of R v C (2011)' American Journal of Criminal Law (76) 130-139
Stevenson K & Harris C 2010 ''Breaking the Thrall of Ambiguity: Simplification (of the Criminal Law) as an Emerging Human Rights Imperative'' Journal of Criminal Law 74, (6) 516-532
Stevenson K 2009 '“She got past knowing herself and didn’t know how many there were”: Uncovering the Gendered Brutality of Gang Rapes in Victorian England,' Nottingham Law Journal 1, (18) 1-17
Stevenson K, Harris C & Rowbotham J 2009 'Truth, law and hate in the virtual marketplace of ideas: perspectives on the regulation of Internet content’' Information & Communications Technology Law 2, (18) 155-184 Publisher Site
Stevenson K & Harris C 2008 'Inaccessible and Unknowable: Accretion and Uncertainty in Modern Criminal Law' Liverpool Law Review 247-267
2007 ''For today in this arena...' Legal performativity and dramatic convention in the Victorian criminal justice system' Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture 14, (2) 113-141
Stevenson K 2007 'Unearthing the realities of rape: Utilising Victorian newspaper reportage to fill in the contextual gaps' Liverpool Law Review 28, (3) 405-423 , DOI
Rowbotham J & Stevenson K 2007 'Editorial: Answering Baker: Utilising ‘Best’ Evidence. The Challenge for Socio-legal Studies' Liverpool Law Review 28, (3) 319-326 , DOI
Rowbotham J & Stevenson K 2006 'A Question of (dis)engagement? Historical Lessons in Promoting an Effective Public Interface to Address Current Crime Concerns' Crime Prevention and Community Safety 8, (2) 69-89 , DOI
Jerrard RR, Stevenson K, Jerrard R, Harrington A & Jerrard R 2005 'Review: Sex Crime: Sex Offending and Society, Stone's Justices' Manual, Blackstone's Police Q&A and Blackstone's Police Sergeant's Mock Examination Paper 2005, the Criminal Jury Old & New: Jury Power from Early Times to the Present Day SEX CRIME: SEX OFFENDING AND SOCIETY 2nd edition, 2005ThomasTerryWillan PublishingISBN: 1-84392-105-7; price £17.99RRPUK STONE'S JUSTICES‘ MANUAL 2004 (136th edition) Edited by CarrA. P. and TurnerA. J.LexisNexisISBN: 0406974144; price £392.40RRPUK (Standard Price) BLACKSTONE'S POLICE Q&A AND BLACKSTONE'S POLICE SERGEANT'S MOCK EXAMINATION PAPER 2005 SmartHugh and WatsonJohn(Paul Connor, mock exam) Oxford University PressISBN: 01992668371 & 019928122x; price £45 & £16.99RRPUK THE CRIMINAL JURY OLD & NEW: JURY POWER FROM EARLY TIMES TO THE PRESENT DAY HostettlerJohnWaterside PressISBN: 1904380115; price £17RRPUK' The Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles 78, (2) 175-185 , DOI
Stevenson K 2004 'Fulfilling Their Mission: The Intervention of Voluntary Societies in Cases of Sexual Assault in the Victorian Criminal Process' Crime, Histoire & Sociétés 1, (8) 93-110
Stevenson K 2004 'Of Constitutions and Kings' Liverpool Law Review 25, (2) 167-170 , DOI
Stevenson K, rowbotham J & Pegg S 2003 'Children of Misfortune: The Parallel Cases of Child Murderers Thompson and Venables, Barratt and Bradley' Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 2, (42) 107-122
Stevenson K 2000 'Dystopias and Legal Utopias?: Reflections on Visions Past and the Enduring Ideal of Criminal Codification,' Nottingham Law Journal 1, (9) 25-38
Stevenson K 2000 'Unequivocal Victims: The Historical Mystification of the Female Complainant in Rape Cases,’' Feminist Legal Studies (8) 346-366
2000 'Unequivocal victims: The historical roots of the mystification of the female complainant in rape cases' Feminist Legal Studies 8, (3) 343-366 , DOI
Stevenson K 1999 '‘Observations on the Law Relating to Sexual Offences: the 'Historic Scandal of Women's Silence,’' Web Journal of Current Legal Issues (4)
Stevenson KA 2012 'The Beauty Bias The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law by Deborah L. Rhode (Book Review)' European Journal of Women’s Studies 4, (19) 4-7
Editorial comments
Stevenson K & Rowbotham J 2007 'Editorial: ‘Answering Baker – Utilising ‘Best’ Evidence. The Challenge For Socio-Legal Studies’' Liverpool Law Review 3, (28) 319-326
stevenson K 2017 Leading the Police A History of Chief Constables 1835-2017. Routledge Routledge SOLON PEARL
Cox DJ, Stevenson K, Harris C & Rowbotham J 2015 Public Indecency in England 1857-1960 'A Serious and Growing Evil’. Routledge
Stevenson KA, Rowbotham J & Pegg S 2013 Crime News in Modern Britain: Press Reporting and Responsibility 1820-2010. PalgraveMacmillan Publisher Site
Jones J; Greer A; Fenton R 2010 Gender, Sexualities and Law. Taylor & Francis
Rowbotham J; Stevenson K 2005 Criminal conversations. Ohio State Univ Press
Stevenson K 2005 Criminal conversations: Victorian crimes, social panic, and moral outrage.
Stevenson K, Davies A & Gunn MJ 2004 Blackstone's guide to the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Blackstone Press
Rowbotham J; Stevenson K 2003 Behaving badly. Ashgate Pub Ltd
Stevenson KA & Channing I 2018 'Authoritative Judgments in a Provincial Town: Responses to Everyday Offending in Plymouth 1860 – 1900' in Gregory J; Grey D A Time of Judgement Routledge
Stevenson KA 2017 'CHIEF CONSTABLES AS ‘MORAL HEROES’ AND GUARDIANS OF PUBLIC MORALITY' in Stevenson KA; Cox DJ; Channing I Leading the Police: : A History of Chief Constables 1835-2017 routledge 91-108 Publisher Site PEARL
2017 'Sexual assault' A Companion to The History of Crime and Criminal Justice 232-237
2017 'Sexual assault' A Companion to The History of Crime and Criminal Justice
Channing I 2017 'Chief Constables and public order' in Stevenson K; Cox D; Channing I Leading The Police: A History of Chief Constables Routledge 174-190
2012 '‘Women and young girls dare not travel alone’: The dangers of sexual encounters on victorian railways' Gendered Journeys, Mobile Emotions 189-200
Jones J, Grear A, Fenton RA & Stevenson K 2011 'Gender, sexualities and law: Critical engagements' Gender, Sexualities and Law 1-11 , DOI
Stevenson K 2010 '‘‘Most Intimate Violations’: Contextualising the Crime of Rape,' in Kilday A-M; Nash D Histories of Crime Britain 1600-2000 Palgrave MacMillan 80-99
Stevenson K 2010 '‘She Never Screamed Out and Complained’: Recognising Gender in Legal and Media Representations of Rape,’' in Jones J Gender, Sexualities and Law Taylor & Francis 121-134
Stevenson K 2005 '‘Crimes of Moral Outrage: Victorian Encryptions of Sexual Violence’' in Rowbotham J; Stevenson K Criminal conversations Victorian Crimes, Social Panics and Moral Outrage Ohio State Univ Pr 232-246
Stevenson K 2003 '‘Causing a Sensation: Media and Legal Representations of Bad Behaviour’' in Rowbotham J; Stevenson K Behaving badly: Visible Crime, Social Panics and Legal Responses - Victorian and Modern Parallels Ashgate Pub Ltd 31-46
Stevenson K 2000 '‘Ingenuities of the Female Mind: Legal and Public Perceptions of Sexual Violence in Victorian England 1850-1890’' in D'Cruze S Everyday violence in Britain, 1850-1950 Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd 89-103
Stevenson K 2000 '‘The Respectability Imperative: A Golden Rule in Cases of Sexual Assault?' in Inkster I; Workshop NTH; University NT The Golden Age: Essays in British Social and Economic History, 1850-1870 Ashgate Pub Ltd 237-248
Conference Papers
Stevenson KA & rowbotham J 2017 'Creating the Virtuous Panopticon: Moral dimensions of Everyday Offending in Plymouth 1880-1910' Digital Panopticon Liverpool University St Georges hall 13/09/2017 17/11/2017 PEARL
Stevenson KA 2017 'The Significance of Union Street in the Unification of Plymouth’s Three Towns' PUNCS Union and Disunion Plymouth University 22/06/2017 23/11/2017 PEARL
Stevenson KA 2017 'The Legal Vilification of the Vulnerable Child Witness: Some Historical Perspectives' Responding to Historical Child Sexual Abuse. Kent University 23/03/2017 23/11/2017 PEARL
Stevenson KA 2015 '‘My experience has shown me that children of a very tender age have vicious propensities’: Child testimony in Nineteenth Century cases of sexual abuse' Historicizing Rape Cardiff University 08/07/2015 10/07/2015
Stevenson KA 2015 '‘The Youngest Chief Constable ever’' British Criminology Society Plymouth University 01/07/2015 03/07/2015
Stevenson KA 2014 '‘…these are cases which it is inadvisable to drag into the light of day:’ Revisiting the Historiography of Incest 1885 to 1977' TRANSNATIONAL RESPONSES TO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE Cardiff University 12/04/2014
Stevenson KA & Edward-Jones A 2013 'Plymouth Student e-journals: comparing different approaches to publishing undergraduate research and scholarly work' British Undergraduate Research Conference 2013 Plymouth University 15/04/2013 16/04/2013
Stevenson KA 2012 'Open Journal Publishing: Letting Elpis out of Pandora's Box' North American Conference on British Studies Montreal 09/11/2012 11/11/2012 History Working Papers Publisher Site
Stevenson K 2012 '‘There is a strong consensus of public opinion …’: Edwardian Activism and the utilization of Criminal Law to prohibit Immorality and Indecency' SOLON Modern Activism Conference Liverpool John Moores 27/06/2012 29/06/2012
Stevenson K 2011 ''"I Beg to Apologise for Troubling You on This Disagreeable Subject": the Criminal Law Amendment Acts and the Elusivity of Establishing the Age of Consent'' British Legal History Conference Clare College Cambridge Uhiversity 13/07/2011 16/07/2011
Stevenson K 2010 '‘Real' Rape, ‘Real’ Consent' National Conference Sex and the Law, Criminalisation? Protection? Rights Centre for HIV and sexual health Sheffield 23/09/2010
Stevenson K 2010 '‘Should there be a Human Right to know the criminal Law?’' Society of Legal Scholars Southampton University 13/09/2010 15/09/2010
Stevenson KA 2008 '“She got past knowing herself and didn’t know how many there were”: Uncovering the Gendered Brutality of Gang Rapes in Victorian England' European Social Science History Conference Lisbon Lisbon 26/02/2008 01/03/2008
Stevenson K 2008 '‘The Legal Cassandra: Rethinking Fitzjames Stephen’s Influence on the Criminal Law’' Society Legal Scholars Annual Conference LSE London 14/09/2008 16/09/2008
Stevenson K 2007 '‘Inaccessible and Unknowable: The problem of legislative hyperactivity and frenzied law making in the Criminal Law’' SOLON Experiencing the Law Conference Institute of Advanced Legal Studies 05/12/2007
Stevenson K 2007 '‘“A Waste of Time?” Overcoming Student and Staff Resistance to Academic Development Planning in Curriculum Design and Delivery’' Association of Law Teachers Annual conference University of Plymouth 01/04/2007 03/04/2007
Stevenson K 2005 'Female Monsters or Damsels in Distress?’' Behaving Badly Again SOLON 4th Annual Conference Galleries of justice Nottingham 24/09/2005 25/09/2005
Stevenson K 2005 '‘Reporting Legal Ingenuities: Representations of Sexual Offences in the Press’' Hart Workshop Empirical Research in Law and Legal Process Institute of Advanced Legal Studies London 28/06/2005 30/06/2005
Stevenson K 2004 '“The Sexual Offences Act 2003”' Sexual Offences Act Conference Manchester Metropolitan University 20/10/2004
Stevenson K 2004 '‘Evil Counsels; Perspectives on recent legislative initiatives’,' Evil State and the law International Conference Oxford University 27/07/2004 29/07/2004
Stevenson K 2003 '‘“She got past knowing herself and didn’t know how many there were”: Uncovering the Gendered Brutality of Gang Rapes in Victorian England.’' IAHCCJ International Colloquium ‘Gender and Crime in Historical Perspective Paris 06/06/2003 07/06/2003
Stevenson K 2003 'Victorian Gang Rapes' Sociolegal Studies Association Annual Conference Nottingham Trent University 14/04/2003 16/04/2003
Stevenson K 2003 '‘Ganging Up, Should Stranger Rape be Constituted as a Hate Crime?’' SOLON/NCSRHC Hate Crimes Conference Galleries of Justice Nottingham 20/02/2003 21/02/2003
Stevenson K 2002 '‘Revealing the Sexual Truth, Sourcing records of sex crimes’' Crime Research Network One Day Seminar Series Nottingham Trent University 22/11/2002
Stevenson K 2002 '‘Indecent Propositions - The Mystification of the Female Complainant in Rape Cases’' Gender Sexuality and the Law International Second Conference Keele University 28/06/2002 30/06/2002
Stevenson K 2002 '‘Damsels in Distress or Female Monsters - Sexual Violence and Seduction in Railway Carriages’' SOLON Off the Rails One Day conference York Railway Museum 10/05/2002
Stevenson K 2001 '‘Courting Connexions: Legal Protagonists and the Press in the Victorian Period’' Law, Cultures and the Humanities, International Conference, Fourth Meeting University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA 15/11/2001 18/11/2001
Stevenson K 2001 '‘Helping the Vulnerable or Helping Themselves? The role of Voluntary Societies in Nineteenth Century Prosecutions of Sex Crimes’' Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association Palmer House, Chicago, USA 15/11/2001 18/11/2001
Stevenson K 2001 '’Media Manipulations: Lawyers Reporting and Bad Behaviour?’’' Behaving Badly First SOLON International Conference Galleries of Justice Nottingham 19/09/2001 21/09/2001
Stevenson K 2001 '‘“Taking Indecent Liberties;” The Victorian Encryption of Sexual Violence’' International Conference on the History of Violence University of Liverpool 05/07/2001 07/07/2001
Stevenson K 2001 '“Taking Indecent Liberties?” Victorian Representations of Sexual Violence’' Women and Gender Keele University 27/06/2001
Stevenson K 2001 '‘Media Manipulations? Images of Crime, Lawyers, Judges and Police - Past and Present’' SOLON Open Public Lecture Galleries of Justice Galleries of Justice, Nottingham 21/03/2001
Stevenson K 2000 'The Mystification of Rape: An exercise in Cultural Contextualisation’' Law, Cultures and the Humanities - International Conference, Third Meeting Georgetown University, Washington DC 23/03/2000 25/03/2000
Stevenson K 2000 '‘Societal Distopias and Legal Utopias: In Pursuit of a Code Victoria’' Social History Society Millennium Conference Gonville and Caius Cambridge University 06/01/2000 08/01/2000
Stevenson K 1999 '’The Respectability Imperative: A Golden Rule in Cases of Sexual Assault?’' One Day History Conference, The Golden Age, Nottingham Trent University 18/06/1999
Stevenson K 1999 '‘Ingenuities of the Female Mind: Legal and Public Perceptions of Sexual Violence in Victorian England 1850-90’' Women Gender and Interpersonal Violence: Historical Perspectives Leeds Metropolitan University 06/02/1999
Stevenson K 1998 '‘Loose Ends and Legal Disjunctions: Offences Against the Person? Socio-Legal Dynamics and Sexual violence in the mid nineteenth century’' Critical Legal Studies Conference Lancaster University 05/09/1998 07/09/1998
Stevenson KA 0 'The Credibility Gap: The Objectification of Child Victims of Sexual Abuse 1880-1980' ‘From Trauma to Protection: the twentieth century as the children’s century' University of Warwick 19/04/2018 20/04/2018 PEARL
0 (Re)Purposed Communities: Law, History and Heritage in Devonport Exploring historical and contemporary Crime and Everyday Offending in Devonport. Devonport Guildhall 20171106 0 27 PEARL
0 ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016 Piracy and Plymouth: privateering, profiting and policing. Sherwell United Reform Church 20161112 0 20 PEARL
Stevenson KA Stevenson KA 0 '‘Conscientous Objectors: A Matter of Conscience or Freedom Expression?' 0 0 PEARL
Stevenson KA Stevenson KA 0 'A Plymouth Contribution: The development of the Cowpox Vaccine' 0 0 PEARL
Stevenson KA Stevenson KA 0 'Criminalists or Rationalists?' 0 0
Stevenson KA Stevenson KA 0 'Decrying Drunkenness in Devonport' 0 0 PEARL
Stevenson KA Stevenson KA 0 'Devonport – Building a Purposed Community: Who lived in Plymouth Dock?' 0 0 PEARL
Stevenson KA Stevenson KA 0 'FIT FOR PURPOSE? INSTITUTIONS FOR DISPENSING LAW AND JUSTICE Devonport Prison: The most efficient establishment of its kind' 0 0 PEARL
Stevenson KA Stevenson KA 0 'Pirates, Visionaries or Entrepreneurs' 0 0 PEARL
Stevenson KA Stevenson KA 0 'Purposeful Collaborations in Devonport – Police and Services in the Community' 0 0 PEARL
Other Publications
Stevenson KA 2014 ‘Oh Man of Learning! Victorian Public Education in Matters Legal. PUNCS 0 0 Publisher Site PEARL
Stevenson KA 2013 An Inadvertent Revolutionary? Developing Law Crime and History as an Open Access Journal. History Workshop Online 0 0