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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 31/03/2022 09:22:32

Title of Module: Crime as Social Harm

Code: CRIM10009 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:A L  Watkin

Summary of Module

The module aims to examine the social harm perspective which derives from Critical Criminology and encourages students to think more broadly about definitions of crime and how particular acts that are often not defined within a criminal or legal framework can create harm.  This is achieved through examining how broader social, political and economic landscapes operate in such as way as to adversely impact on particular sections of society and community.  This is examined through structural issues like, race, gender and class.  Students are also encouraged to apply theories to a variety of topics and issues that are examined.

Topics may include?

  • Work-based harm
  • State crime and state-corporate crime
  • Counter-terrorism policies 
  • Modern slavery, human trafficking and immigration
  • Environmental harm
  • Animal harms
  • Online harms

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Critically examine the limitations of studying issues constructed as crime and subsequent responses by criminal justice systems .

L2. Evaluate what constitutes social harm and the ways in which social harm can impact upon people’s lives.

L3. Evaluate the ways in which different structural determinants like gender, inequality and ethnicity can frame the way in which social harm is experienced.

L4. Critically analyse policy responses to social harm and how these have been constructed and applied.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Students will develop an extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding of social harm, concepts and methodologies informed by research at the forefront of present knowledge.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Students will apply their knowledge and understanding of social harm to a chosen topic and use this to evaluate responses and policy solutions in this field

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Students will apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to complex issues at the forefront of the study of criminological theory.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Students will develop their ICT skills through the use of online research engines and tools such as Moodle. They will practise their oral communication skills by interacting with peers during the workshops and through on-line discussion boards.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Students will exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in carrying out learning activities.

Students will take responsibility for own work and contribute to the collective learning activities of the group.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
To allow maximum flexibility a combination of Lectures, Seminars, Virtual Seminars, Workshops and group discussion boards will be used to deliver this module. Lectures will be used to introduce key concepts and ideas to students, while seminars and group discussion (both physical and virtual) will provide a forum for students to examine and discuss topical case studies examining social harm. A variety of workshops will be provided to deal specifically with the assessments and to allow students to be independent learners through selecting their own method of assessment. For the first group-based assessment, students have to produce a learning resource for other students, which will provide the basis for a forum discussion. Examples might include a podcast, series of v-logs, poster or e-zine. For assessment two, students have a choice between a policy brief or an essay. Students’ will be allowed to work on their assessment throughout the module and be allowed to test their ideas through a formative plan of work for which they will receive constructive feedback.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Asynchronous Class Activity24
Independent Study140
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Cohen, S. (2001) States of Denial, Oxford, Polity Press

Davies, P. Francis P and Wyatt, T (2014) Invisible Crimes and Social Harms, Basingstoke, Palgrave McMillan

Hillyard, P. Pantazis, Tombs, S. and Gordon, D. (2004) Beyond Criminology, Taking Harm Seriously, London, Pluto Press

Savelsberg, J. (2010) Crime and Human Rights, London, Sage

Pemberton, S. (2016) Harmful Societies: Understanding Social Harm. Bristol. Policy Press.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Criminal Justice
ModeratorA Moore
External ExaminerW Graham
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Assessment 1: A group assessment to create a learning resource (30%)

Summative Assessment:
Assessment 1: group-assessment to create a learning resource (format optional) (30%)
Assessment 2: 2,500 policy brief (70%)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Creative output/ Audiotapes/ Videotapes/ Games/ Simulationscheck markcheck markcheck mark 304

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Papercheck markcheck mark check mark7010
Combined Total For All Components100% 14 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.