Biography

Dr Ros Burnett is a Research Associate, formerly Reader in Criminology, at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, which she joined in 1990 after gaining her doctorate at Oxford (DPhil in Social Psychology). Before then she was a Probation Officer. Her specialist research interests are: rehabilitation and desistance from crime; and wrongful allegations of child abuse and sexual offences.

She has collaborated in numerous research projects on offender recidivism, desistance from crime, and youth justice, and has contributed to the teaching and supervision of postgraduate students.  She was Head of the Probation Studies Unit which flourished during the 1990s in developing evidence-based justice (reviewed in What Works in Probation and Youth Justice, Burnett and Roberts, eds). With David Faulkner she co-authored Where Next for Criminal Justice? (The Policy Press, 2011).

Her later work has focused on potential errors and miscarriages of justice, specifically relating to claims of innocence by people accused of sexual abuse.  Her book: Wrongful Allegations of Sexual and Child Abuse (Burnett, ed ) is published by Oxford University Press (September 2016). Her recent work with Naomi-Ellen Speechley, 'Robbed of Everything': The Voices of Former Prisoners Maintaining Innocence though Convicted of Sexual Offences, and of their Relatives (FACT: Falsely Accused Carers, Teachers and other professionals 2021) reports on a subsidiary study to the Centre’s 2016 report, The Impact of Being Wrongly Accused of Abuse in Occupations of Trust: Victims Voices, (Carolyn Hoyle, Naomi-Ellen Speechley, Ros Burnett).

 

Publications

Recent additions

  • M.Smith and R Burnett, 'The origins of the Jimmy Savile scanda' (2018) 38 International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 26
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-03-2017-0029
    The purpose of this paper is to explore the origins of the Jimmy Savile Scandal in which the former BBC entertainer was accused of a series of sexual offences after his death in 2011. The case has had a massive impact on UK policing and criminal justice policy and on care work, with implications for due process and public expenditure in responding to reports of sexual abuse. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on an Economic and Social Research Council funded project to collate data on the Savile case. It is based, primarily, on interview material from former pupils and staff members from Duncroft School, from whence initial allegations against Savile emanate, contrasting these with media accounts. Findings The research provides a very different picture of Duncroft and the contemporary policy context to that presented in media accounts. A questioning account of the origins of the scandal emerges. The findings may lend themselves to a moral panics analysis but also point to the power of dominant stories in influencing public policy. Research limitations/implications This paper is based on only a very small sample of interviews. The material is ethically sensitive in that it may be claimed or used to cast doubt on accounts of abuse. Social implications The implications of the wider project from which it draws are potentially profound, casting doubt on the origins and detail of the Savile scandal. Originality/value The paper addresses one of the major socio-cultural episodes in recent British history, which has had a profound effect on the workings of the criminal justice system, signalling a shift away from a presumption of innocence. It also offers insight into the cultural context of care work and the possibility, especially for males, of being subject to allegations made against them.

Report (3)

R Burnett and G. Eaton, Factors Associated with Effective Practice in Approved Premises (Home Office Online Report 2004)

Journal Article (16)

M.Smith and R Burnett, 'The origins of the Jimmy Savile scanda' (2018) 38 International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 26
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-03-2017-0029
The purpose of this paper is to explore the origins of the Jimmy Savile Scandal in which the former BBC entertainer was accused of a series of sexual offences after his death in 2011. The case has had a massive impact on UK policing and criminal justice policy and on care work, with implications for due process and public expenditure in responding to reports of sexual abuse. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on an Economic and Social Research Council funded project to collate data on the Savile case. It is based, primarily, on interview material from former pupils and staff members from Duncroft School, from whence initial allegations against Savile emanate, contrasting these with media accounts. Findings The research provides a very different picture of Duncroft and the contemporary policy context to that presented in media accounts. A questioning account of the origins of the scandal emerges. The findings may lend themselves to a moral panics analysis but also point to the power of dominant stories in influencing public policy. Research limitations/implications This paper is based on only a very small sample of interviews. The material is ethically sensitive in that it may be claimed or used to cast doubt on accounts of abuse. Social implications The implications of the wider project from which it draws are potentially profound, casting doubt on the origins and detail of the Savile scandal. Originality/value The paper addresses one of the major socio-cultural episodes in recent British history, which has had a profound effect on the workings of the criminal justice system, signalling a shift away from a presumption of innocence. It also offers insight into the cultural context of care work and the possibility, especially for males, of being subject to allegations made against them.
R Burnett, 'Editorial: The will and the ways to becoming an ex-offender' (2010) 54 International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 663
T LeBel, R Burnett, S Maruna and S Bushway, 'The "chicken and egg" of subjective and social factors in desistance from crime' (2008) 5 European Journal of Criminology 131
G.Robinson and R Burnett, 'Experiencing modernisation: frontline probation perspectives on the transition to a national offender management service' (2007) 54 Probation Journal 318
R Burnett, 'Nipping crime in the bud: developmental research and intervention in infancy' (2007) 69 Criminal Justice Matters 14
R Burnett, 'Review of Vanstone: Supervising Offenders in the Community' (2007) 9 Punishment and Society 211
R Burnett and S Maruna, 'The kindness of prisoners: strengths-based resettlement in theory and in action' (2006) 6 Criminology and Criminal Justice 83
R Burnett, 'More than accommodation, less than prison: raising the profile of approved premises' (2005) 10 Vista: Perspectives on Probation 2
R Burnett, S Bachelor and F McNeill, 'Reducing reoffending: lessons from psychotherapy and counselling' (2005) 61 Criminal Justice Matters 32
R Burnett, 'The case for counselling as a method for working with offenders' (2002) 7 Vista: Perspectives on Probation 216
R Burnett, 'Understanding criminal careers through a series of in-depth interviews' (2000) 4 Offender Programs Report 1

Edited Book (1)

Book (5)

R Burnett and C. Appleton, Joined-up Youth Justice: Tackling Youth Crime in Partnership (Russell House Publishing 2004)
ISBN: 1-903855-32-2
R Burnett, What Works in Probation and Youth Justice: Developing Evidence-based Practice. (Willan Publishing 2004)
ISBN: 1-84392-059-X
R Burnett, P McGhee and D D Clarke, Accounting for Relationships: Explanation, Representation and Knowledge (Methuen 1987)

Other (7)

R Burnett, 'The Probation Service: Responding to Change. Proceedings of the Probation Studies Unit First Colloquium' (1997) University of Oxford Centre for Criminological Research Probation Studies Unit Report No. 3
C Roberts, R Burnett, Kirby and H Hamill, 'A System for Evaluating Probation Practice' (1996) University of Oxford Centre for Criminological Research Probation Studies Unit Report No. 1
R Burnett, 'Fitting Supervision to Offenders: Assessment and Allocation in the Probation Service, Home Office Research Study' (1996) 153 Home Office
R Burnett and G Farrell, 'Reported and Unreported Racial Incidents in Prisons, Occasional Paper, No. 14' (1994) University of Oxford Centre for Criminological Research

Chapter (10)

R Burnett, 'Post-corrections reintegration: prisoner resettlement and desistance from crime' in J R Adler and J M Gray (eds), Forensic Psychology 2nd edition (Willan 2010)
R Burnett, 'Homelessness and crime' in G Towl, D Farrington, D Crighton and G Hughes (eds), Dictionary of Forensic Psychology (Willan 2008)
R Burnett, Baker, K. and Roberts, C., 'Assessment, supervision and intervention: fundamental practice in probation' in L. Gelsthorpe and R. Morgan (eds.) (eds), Handbook of Probation (Willan 2007)
ISBN: 978-1-84392-189-9
R Burnett, 'Never too early? Reflections on research and interventions for early developmental prevention of serious harm' in M Blyth, E Solomon and K Baker (eds), Young People and ?Risk? (Policy Press 2007)
ISBN: 978-1-84742-000-8
R Burnett, 'Probation' in R Canton and D Hancock (eds), Dictionary of Probation and Offender Management (Willan 2007)
R Burnett, 'Rehabilitation' and 'Early Release Schemes'' in Y Jewkes and J Bennett (eds), and ?Early Release Schemes? (Willan 2007)
R Burnett, 'Youth offending teams' in T. Bateman and J. Pitts (eds), Companion to Youth Justice (Russell House Publishing 2005)
ISBN: 1-903855-49-7
R Burnett, 'One-to-one ways of promoting desistance: in search of an evidence base' in R. Burnett and C. Roberts (eds), What Works in Probation and Youth Justice: Developing Evidence-Based Practice (Willan Publishing 2004)
ISBN: 184392059X
R Burnett and C. Roberts, 'The emergence and importance of evidence-based practice' in R. Burnett and C. Roberts (eds), What Works in Probation and Youth Justice (Willan Publishing 2004)
ISBN: 1-84392-059-X
R Burnett, 'To re-offend or not to re-offend? The ambivalence of convicted property offenders' in S. Maruna and R. Immarigeon (eds), After Crime and Punishment: Pathways to Offender Reintegration. (Willan 2004)

Centres

Research projects

Research Interests

False allegations and miscarriages of Justice; Investigation of allegations of sexual offences and child abuse; Ex-offender reintegration and desistance from crime; Older prisoners. 

 

Research projects