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Susan specialises in quantitative criminological research and big data analytics.  Her published work covers a wide range of topics, including: youth crime and juvenile justice; crime and justice inequalities; changing patterns of victimisation and offending; criminal careers over the life course; violence and vulnerability; youth gangs and knife crime; youth mental health, wellbeing and adverse experiences; police use of stop and search; police use of enforcement during the pandemic; and online drug markets.

Susan is a founding associate of SCCJR; Co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) where she leads a programme of research on ‘Safer Communities’; and Co-Director of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime (ESYTC), one of the largest and longest running longitudinal studies of its kind internationally.  She also leads a project on Policing the Pandemic in Scotland, exploring the use of enforcement in securing compliance with the Coronavirus Regulations.

Susan has an OBE for Services to Social Science, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Social Sciences, and has won several awards for research impact, including the 2019 ESRC Award for Outstanding Public Policy Impact and the 2021 European Society for Prevention Research President’s Award.

Recent publications

Like mother, like child? Sex differences in the maternal transmission of offending among a Scottish cohort of pre-adolescent children

ACES, Places and Inequality: Understanding the effects of adverse childhood experiences and poverty on offending in childhood

Increasing Inequality in Experience of Victimization During the Crime Drop

Understanding Digital Drug Markets through the Geography of Postal Drug Deliveries in Scotland



Old College,

Research Themes

Evidence, Statistics and Trends

Research Methods and Criminological Theory

January 2024

Safe Space? The past, present and future of violence reduction in Scotland

Over the last two decades, Scotland has witnessed a significant reduction in violence, leading to an increasing consensus around Scotland’s […]

March 2017

Response from SCCJR to the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey Questionnaire Review 2017

Response from Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (Sarah MacQueen, Anna Souhami and Susan McVie, University of Edinburgh; Fergus […]

July 2016

The Need for a New Power to Search Children for Alcohol: A review of the evidence

The aim of this report is to inform the Scottish Government consultation on the proposal to introduce a statutory power […]

Understanding youth violence: the mediating effects of gender, poverty and vulnerability

Purpose This article aims to improve our understanding of youth violence in the early teenage years by exploring the mediating […]


Is Poverty Reflected in Changing Patterns of Victimisation in Scotland?


The Reproduction of Poverty


Poverty Matters


Has Scotland’s falling crime rate benefited everyone equally?


Evaluation of the Whole System Approach to Young People Who Offend in Scotland

The Scottish Government’s Whole System Approach for Children and Young People who Offend (WSA) aims to prevent unnecessary use of […]


The Case for Diversion and Minimum Necessary Intervention

15th July 2020

Public Health, Youth & Violence Reduction

The study responds to the urgent social problem of rising youth violence. England and Wales have seen marked increases in […]

21st June 2018

The Scottish Prisons Commission: Ten Years On

In July 2008 The Scottish Prisons Commission (also known as the McLeish Commission) published its report Scotland’s Choice. This report […]

23rd October 2014

Domestic Violence and Police/ Victim Interaction

Domestic violence has received increasing attention in Scottish policy and legislation, through criminalisation of abusive behaviour and the provision of […]

6th September 2012

Whole System Approach to Children and Young People who Offend

The project funded by the Scottish Government will involve phase one of the evaluation of the implementation of the national […]

21st May 2010


AQMeN is an ESRC funded network of around 1400 people with a shared interest in quantitative methods and who wish […]

21st May 2010

Youth Violence in Scotland

In November 2009, SCCJR were commissioned by the Scottish Government to identify and collate available qualitative and quantitative research data […]

28th July 2008

Racism and social marginalisation research study

Discrimination and social marginalisation are major stumbling blocks to integration and community cohesion. In particular, discrimination and racial abuse can […]

10th July 2008

Youth Gangs and Knife Carrying

In 2008, SCCJR were awarded a research grant of £155,000 by the Scottish Government to undertake ethnographic research exploring the […]

13th May 2008

Scoping Study into Quantitative Methods Capacity Building in Scotland

This scoping study was funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Scottish Funding Council. The research […]

12th July 2021

Major new violence reduction research project launched

7th March 2017

SCCJR responds to proposed Scottish Crime and Justice Survey changes

10th August 2016

SCCJR at the Edinburgh Fringe: Hug a Thug returns!

15th March 2016

AQMeN training events showcase Scottish crime data

5th January 2016

Professor Susan McVie awarded an OBE in New Year Honours list

18th August 2015

Hug a Thug? Crime and punishment debate at the Edinburgh Fringe

17th June 2015

SCCJR evaluation finds Whole System Approach to youth justice boosts partnership working

CJS Seminar: Lesley McAra and Susan McVie

3rd April 2024


Edinburgh Law School

To love or to punish? That is the question

11th August 2022