Dr John Archer’s investigations into violent crimes from 1850 to 1914 revealed:

Official homicide figures grossly underestimated the actual amount of murder, manslaughter and infanticide
open verdicts were often returned when adults had died is suspicious circumstances
male on male violence was not always regarded as illegal if no weapons were used
reported violence by women in Liverpool and Manchester was twice the national average
Victorian crimes similar to recent notorious cases, such as the murders of James Bulger and Sarah Payne, failed to ignite widespread social anxieties.

The project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of its Violence Research Programme. Dr Archer carried out the research with colleagues Jo Jones, Carol Lewis-Roylance and David Orr.

The research was based on all kinds of interpersonal violence – from common assault to murder – reported in three-month samples taken from Liverpool Manchester newspapers for every year the project covered. Suspicious deaths that came before the coroners’ courts were also examined, along with police, parliamentary and home office records.

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Archer, please contact Valerie Cowan in the Edge Hill Press Office on 01695 584509, email pressoffice@edgehill.ac.uk