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Lecturer of Law, University of Essex

Dr Karen Brennan is a lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Essex. Prior to joining the university in 2012, she held a lectureship at Queen's University Belfast (2006-2011), and also acted as researcher to the Criminal Law Rapporteur on the Legal Protection of Children in the Republic of Ireland (July 2006 - December 2007).

Her research and teaching interests are in the area of criminal justice, with a particular focus on socio-historical and gendered issues. She recently co-edited a book on women and the criminal justice system (Women and Criminal Justice System: Failing Victims and Offenders? Palgrave-Macmillan, forthcoming 2018).

She has published extensively on the subject of infanticide in national and international journals, taking a socio-legal, historical, and feminist approach to this subject. She has also published on abortion and family homicide. Her work engages with a range of themes, including social norms, compassion, medicalisation, and reproductive rights. She is currently developing her research across three areas: maternal obligation to the foetus/newborn child, with a particular focus on the criminalisation of women who harm the foetus/baby; obstetric violence; and assisted dying.


  • –present
    Lecturer of Law, University of Essex