Understanding the geospatial and contextual patterns of rural domestic abuse: Privacy Notice

Understanding the geospatial and contextual patterns of rural domestic abuse: Privacy Notice

Principal Investigators: Dr Sam Lewis, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, and Dr Dan Birks, Associate Professor of Quantitative Policing and Crime Data Analytics.


About the study


Official estimates suggest that in 2020, 9.7 million people in England and almost 1 million people in Wales lived in rural areas. Evidence from the USA and Australia suggest that the persistence of rural values, rural isolation, and limited support services mean that rural victims may wait longer before seeking help, enduring more serious violence, than those living in urban areas. Nationally, approximately one-third of domestic abuse is reported to and recorded by the police, and variations in reporting may vary by geography. These factors present a significant challenge to local areas wishing to develop an evidence-based response. This study combines applied data science with interviews with local practitioners to explore the causes, extent and geospatial distribution of rural domestic abuse reported to Cumbria Constabulary and partners. Our research findings will support data-driven proactive responses designed to reduce the harm associated with domestic abuse in rural communities.

This privacy notice relates to data provided by Cumbria Constabulary. Please see full details of our privacy notice below.

Privacy Notice


Where do we obtain data from?


The project uses information collected by Cumbria Constabulary in the course of their duties. The data relates to the suspects and victims involved in all domestic abuse-related crimes, incidents and associated safeguarding referrals that came to police attention during a 19-month period from 1st March 2019.

What data do we hold?

The data do not contain names, addresses, or dates of birth. The data do contain some demographic information about the suspect (e.g. age; sex; ethnicity). The data include information about the context within which the alleged crimes, incidents and referrals (hereinafter ‘events’) took place (e.g. whether drugs, alcohol or mental health issues were present). The time and date of the events, and descriptions of alleged offences, are included. Location data are needed to map the geospatial distribution of police-recorded domestic abuse in Cumbria. Before being received by the research team, event location data were aggregated by Cumbria Constabulary to Census Output Areas (OA). OAs cover a minimum of 40 households and 100 individual residents. This aggregation was done to avoid individuals being identifiable within the data.

These data include a unique (non-personal) identifier, which if combined with data held by Cumbria Constabulary would allow identification of an individual. Therefore, these data are classed as ‘personal data’ under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Who will process my personal information?


The data will only be accessed by substantive employees of the University of Leeds and only used for the purpose of this project. Only summarised and aggregated data will be disseminated in the form of academic presentations, peer-reviewed journals and lay summaries. The data will not be used for commercial purposes, provided in record level form to any third party or used for any direct marketing. There will be no requirement or attempt to re-identify any individuals within the data.

There will be no transfers of the data to third countries or international organisations, and there will be no automated decision making or profiling using these data.

What is the legal basis for the processing?


Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the University of Leeds has to identify a legal basis for processing personal data and, where appropriate, an additional legal basis for processing special category data (e.g. ethnicity data).

As a publicly funded organisation, the University of Leeds processes personal data to undertake scientific research which is in the public interest (further details can be found here: https://dataprotection.leeds.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/02/Research-Privacy-Notice.pdf ). The legal basis for processing data is under Article 6 (1) (e) of the GDPR: Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. Special category data are processed under Article 9 (2) (g): Processing is in the substantive public interest.


Whilst not special category data, criminal offence data also has extra protections. The Article 6 basis for processing is that this is necessary for the performance of a task in the public interest (Article 6(1)(e)). The processing must also meet one of the conditions in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 2018. In compliance with Schedule 1, paragraph 4, these data are being processed for research purposes.

How will you keep my data secure?


The data controllers for this study are the University of Leeds.

The University has in place appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect your personal data and / or special category data.

Information will be treated confidentially. The University is committed to the principle of data protection by design and default and uses the minimum amount of data necessary for the project.

How can I access my personal information?


Various rights under data protection legislation, including the right to access personal information that is held about you, are qualified or do not apply when personal information is processed solely in a research or archival contact. This is because fulfilling them might adversely affect the integrity of, and the public benefits arising from, the research study or project.

The full list of (qualified or inapplicable) rights is: the right to access the personal information that is held about you by the University, the right to ask us to correct any inaccurate personal information we hold about you, to delete personal information, or otherwise restrict our processing, or to object to processing (including the receipt of direct marketing) or to receive an electronic copy of the personal information you provided to us.

If you have any questions regarding your rights in this context, please use the contact details below. Please note: as we do not hold names or addresses for this study we cannot remove participants from this study, correct any information we hold about you or provide you with an electronic copy of the personal information we hold about you.

How long is my information kept?


The project ends on 31 March 2022. As contractually required, the data will be retained for two months after the end of the research project and then securely destroyed. This short period of retention beyond the end of the project will enable to research team to produce further outputs from the study.

Who can I contact?


If you have any questions about this research study, please contact Dr Sam Lewis by email: lawsjl@leeds.ac.uk

If you have any general questions about how your personal information is used by the University, or wish to exercise any of your rights, please consult the University’s data protection webpages. If you need further assistance, please contact the University’s Data Protection Officer (Alice Temple: A.C.Temple@leeds.ac.uk).

Our general postal address is University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.

Our postal address for data protection issues is University of Leeds Secretariat, Room 11.72 EC Stoner Building, Leeds, LS2 9JT. Our telephone number is +44 (0)113 3437641.

Our data controller registration number provided by the Information Commissioner’s Office is Z553814X.

How can I complain?


If you wish to raise a complaint about how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer who will investigate the matter. If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data in a way that is not lawful you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

This notice was last updated on 16 December 2021.