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Last updated 23rd March 2023


Prof. Rachel Armitage is a Professor of Criminology within the School of Human and Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield. She founded the highly successful multi-disciplinary institute - The Secure Societies Institute (SSI), which she directed between 2014 and 2018. Prof. Armitage’s research focuses upon the role of design (place, space, products and systems) in influencing both anti-social and pro-social behaviour. She has conducted research on the subject of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) for over 20 years - evaluating the effectiveness of the Secured by Design (SBD) award scheme, investigating the links between housing design and crime risk, exploring the tensions and synergies between security and sustainability and studying international approaches to preventing crime through design. Her work has been referenced in local, national and international planning policy and guidance, and she aims to ensure that consideration for crime prevention is on the agenda of all agencies involved in planning and developing the built environment. More recently, she has conducted several projects exploring the role of design in counterterrorism at critical infrastructure sites, in particular, multi-modal passenger terminals.

Rachel’s research on housing design has also focused upon the role of housing in the prevention of domestic abuse (specifically the Sanctuary scheme), and the impact of housing on mental and physical health.

As well as her focus upon crime prevention within the built environment, Rachel works closely with many agencies to explore the impact of secondary victimisation of online child sexual abuse – particularly IIOC (Indecent Images of Children). Rachel is the Deputy Chair of Trustees for the Marie Collins Foundation; a Trustee of Acts Fast and a founder and trustee of the charity Talking Forward - a peer support group for families affected by online child sexual abuse. She is a founding member of the national Indirect Victims of Indecent Images of Children Investigations (IVIIC) National Strategic Group - working closely with key agencies to explore policy and practice responses to non-offending partners (NOPs) and children of IIOC offenders.

Rachel has published extensively on the subject of designing out crime, including a sole authored book: Crime Prevention through Housing Design (2013) published by Palgrave Macmillan, and edited collections: Rebuilding Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (2019) published by Routledge, and Retail Crime – International Evidence and Prevention (2018) published by Palgrave Macmillan. She is on the Editorial Board of several journals including: Security Journal (Book Reviews Editor), the European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, Crime Prevention and Community Safety and Frontiers in Psychology, Forensic and Legal Psychology.

Rachel is an invited member of the Home Office Safer Streets Committee; the Home Office National Burglary Taskforce; the Home Office Vehicle Crime Taskforce; the Child Sexual Abuse Academic Network; the China Safe Cities Advisory Group, and the ActEarly City Collaboratory project (led by Bradford Institute for Health Research) to develop innovative approaches to the prevention of ill health. 

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED).
  • The role of design (place, space, products, systems) in influencing anti-social and pro-social behaviour.
  • The public engagement video Designing out Crime: Building Safer Communities, on the subject of designing out crime, demonstrates the concepts and also the effectiveness of this crime reduction measure.
  • The role of housing in reducing domestic abuse - specifically the Sanctuary scheme. 
  • Healthy housing. 
  • Secondary victimisation of child sexual abuse offending. 
  • Policy and practice responses to IIOC.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)
  • Designing out Crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Designing in pro-social behaviour and wellbeing
  • The role of design in counter-terrorism
  • The role of housing in reducing domestic abuse
  • Sanctuary scheme
  • Healthy housing
  • Secondary victimisation of child sexual abuse offending
  • Policy and practice responses to IIOC


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