The Department of Criminology at the Erasmus School of Law welcomes three new PhD candidates: Irma Cleven, Ruben Timmerman and Anna Merz.
My name is Irma Cleven. I graduated in social psychology at Radboud University Nijmegen. I continued studying at Antwerp University where I received my second master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. After graduation, I worked as a junior researcher and tutor in victimology at Tilburg University (INTERVICT), briefly as a project officer at Slachtofferhulp Nederland and later as a junior researcher in criminology at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
In September I started as a PhD candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where I will be conducting research on penal protection orders in the pre-sentencing phase. These orders may prohibit a suspect from contacting or visiting a victim while they await trial. Very little is known about how these orders are enforced and to what extent they may contribute to victim protection, which will be the topic of my research. This research gap is surprising given the increased focus on victim’s right to protection. Moreover, a review of international studies found enforcement to be problematic (Benitez, Dale, McNiel & Binder, 2010); enforcement is usually reactive, and therefore depends on the victim’s willingness to report violations. International studies show however, that the justice system does not always act upon reported order violations (for example, Logan, Shannon & Walker, 2006; Ko, 2001). Therefore, I will also focus on how victims experience the enforcement process and on possible unintended negative consequences. This research will fill an important gap and results of this study may be used to (further) improve victim protection.
My name is Ruben Timmerman. I was born in the Netherlands, but immigrated to Canada with my family when I was young. I grew up in a small town near Vancouver, where I attended the University of the Fraser Valley and received a bachelor’s degree (BA) in Criminal Justice. During my undergraduate studies I participated in several policy-oriented research projects dealing with a range of social justice and (international) human rights issues, including housing insecurity, human trafficking, forced marriage, and anti-corruption. After completing my BA in 2016, I decided to return to the Netherlands with my wife and pursue a master’s degree (MA) in global criminology at Utrecht University, where my research interests were drawn in particular to issues of migration and border control. My final thesis research focused on Dutch detention and deportation practices for undocumented migrants.
During my first year at Utrecht University, I realized that I wanted to develop a greater understanding of the international legal framework surrounding issues of migration and human rights more broadly. In 2017, I therefore began a second master’s (LLM) in Public International Law at Utrecht University, with a specialization in human rights. My final LLM thesis examined EU external migration governance, with a particular focus on the legal and human rights implications of EU cooperation with non-EU ‘third countries’ of origin and transit in areas of migration control. Building on these research interests, my current PhD research explores the issue labour exploitation of irregular migrant workers, with a particular focus on the intersection between immigration control and state anti-trafficking efforts. Through my research I ultimately hope to inform a more meaningful understanding of the complex socio-legal and human rights challenges presented by contemporary migration, and to help formulate more effective and humane responses.
My name is Anna Merz. I come from Germany where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in sociology. I moved to the Netherlands for my master’s degree in criminology two years ago. My research interests lie primarily in the role of (informal) punishment in society. Being born in Baden-Württemberg (Germany) – one of the leading economic centres of Europe, and holding a minor in business administration – my PhD research can be positioned at the intersection of criminology and economy. In a figurative sense, it brings me back to my roots. My research will explore processes of peer-group labelling white-collar offenders in Dutch (semi) private businesses. The starting point for this research is that, apart from the exposure and conviction of some ‘big fish’, people and organizations involved in white-collar crime scandals are not necessarily hit by reputational losses. And even if publicly exposed, it seems like companies quickly manage to return to business as usual.
Whereas street criminals, almost inevitably, face labelling and stigmatization, white-collar offenders manage to escape stigmatising consequences of labelling for “being too big to jail”, not qualifying as typical folk devils and having the power to counter which often results in a blame-game. My research aims to bridge the gap between labelling and white-collar crime by placing it in the context of business-related peer-groups both on the job (colleagues, business partners, influencers) and outside the job (e.g. co-members in rotary clubs, freemasonry, golf club). To get insights in peer-group reactions to white-collar crime, a qualitative research design will be used – predominantly focusing on interviews with businessmen, but also focus on case studies and media portrayal of white-collar offenders.