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Criminologists from around the world will come together to exchange ideas and discuss research at a University of Ulster conference this week.

The 6th North/South Irish Criminology Conference, hosted by the School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy, opened at the Belfast campus today with a visit from new Justice Minister David Ford (pictured).

“We are excited that criminologists are visiting us from as far away as America, Australia and South Africa. We hope that the range of research presented at the conference will be useful to our local criminal justice practitioners in developing responses to crime based on best practice,” said Professor Paul Carmichael, Head of the School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy.

“The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for academics, post-graduate researchers, community activists, practitioners and policy makers in the fields of criminology and criminal justice to learn from each other and disseminate research.

“This is of particular significance given the devolution of policing and justice in Northern Ireland, and increasing awareness, throughout Ireland, of gender-specific needs within criminal justice processes, and the needs of families and victims.”

There will be panels of experts debating a range of topics over the two days including policing, prisons, restorative justice, youth justice, immigration and migration, state crime, abolitionism, violent and sexual crime, law and social control, media and the arts.

Dr Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Director of the Social and Policy Research Institute, added: “The conference could not be happening at a more appropriate time with the Hillsborough Agreement making reference to many of the topics which are central to criminology such as policing, prisons and victims of crime.”