The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Gethin Rees

Lecturer in Sociology



I am interested in the intersection of healthcare and criminal justice, whether that is embodied in healthcare professionals who work in criminal justice contexts (e.g. police stations and prisons), or scientific and/or medical experts presenting evidence in criminal trials.  As a result my research sits at the intersection of the sociology of science and technology, medical sociology and socio-legal studies. I presently teach on a Stage One module "Investigating Inequalities and Crime".

Prior to joining Newcastle University I held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009-2010) and was Principal Investigator on an ESRC Small Grant (2010-2011), both carried out at the University of Edinburgh; following the completion of the small grant I became a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Southampton (2011-2015).  More recently I received a Wellcome Trust Seed Award Grant for the project "Police Custody Nursing: Ethical, Social, Policy and Professional Challenges".  I hold a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Edinburgh and a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice from the University of Southampton.  I have also held Visiting Fellowships at Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Department of Sociology, Trent University; and School of Law, National University of Ireland in Galway.  I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, an Executive Committee member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association and a member of the British Sociological Association.  

Google scholar: Click here.


Research Interests and Expertise

I am predominantly interested in the ways that medicine is employed in legal decision-making contexts and have followed this interest through four principal research projects: the role of doctors (otherwise known as Forensic Medical Examiners) in the examination of a person reporting a rape or sexual assault; a study of the introduction of nurses into the forensic investigation in sexual assault cases, in particular comparing the novel Forensic Nurse Examiner role in England and Wales with the more established Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner in Ontario, Canada; the role of sleep medicine in sexual assault cases where the accused does not deny the assault but claims to have no recollection of the event, as they were sleepwalking at the time; a Wellcome Trust Seed Award investigating the role and work of nurses in police custody suites; and most recently was part of a research team who successfully applied to the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to fund the development of a network of forensic medical professionals working in rural areas of Ontario and Scotland..  At the heart of all of these studies are questions concerning the boundaries between medicine and the law and the ways that those boundaries are maintained and negotiated; questions about the ways that 'real rape' stereotypes inform (and are in turn supported) by forensic practices; and the ways that disagreements in knowledge claims are resolved.

Latest Projects

Inaccessible Care: An international forum on sexual assault services in rural Canada and Scotland

The three objectives of this project are:

  1. Provide a forum for rural sexual assault care providers and related professionals to collectively assess common barriers to sexual assault forensic services in rural communities in Canada and Scotland, and develop a series of recommendations to address these.
  2. Provide a forum for an intersectoral and international knowledge creation, exchange, and dissemination on sexual assault services between providers and scholars.
  3. Establish an international research team for a long term research project on rural sexual assault services in Canada and Scotland.     

To meet these objectives, this project involves several knowledge exchange and mobilization activities:

  1. One-day events in Waterloo, Ontario and Glasgow, Scotland involving sexual assault service providers and scholars
  2. A project website with a Slack Chat platform for continued international dialogue between service providers in Canada and Scotland following the two events.
  3. A short documentary video, executive summary, and academic publication highlighting key insights generated during the events.
  4. A one-day research collaboration meeting with sexual assault scholars from Canada and the United Kingdom to coordinate a collaborative publication and future research activities, including a SSHRC Insight Grant application to fund a project on rural sexual assault care.
International Networks

I am a co-founder of the Comparative Analysis in Rape Research Network (CAiRRN), an interdisciplinary collection of scholars interested in the treatment of rape victims by criminal justice personnel.

PhD Supervision

Current Supervision

Angela Plessas - Women’s troubles: The impact of gendered assumptions in women’s experiences of diagnosis and stigma 

Melissa Whitaker - From ‘Love Actually’ to ‘Love Aptually’: An Investigation Into The co-construction of New Social Media Technology and Gender and Sexual Scripts 

Gemma Molyneux - Ethnographic exploration of the ways girls’ relationships shape their consumption of science discourses 

Oscar Daniel - Towards Gender Inclusive Healthcare: Improving Transgender Healthcare Education Amongst Medical Students

Previous Supervision

Neil MacEwan - Responsibilisation, Rules and Rule-Following Concerning Cyber-Security: Findings from small business case studies in the UK (University of Southampton) - completed

I would be interested in supervising PhD research in any of the following areas:

  • Sociology of the Forensic Sciences
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
  • Medical Sociology (especially Sociology of Diagnosis or Medical Professions)
  • Gender-Based Violence (especially investigations into the criminal justice response to rape and sexual assault)


I presently teach on a Stage One module "Investigating Inequalities and Crime".