April Murphy

Field: Criminology

April Murphy is shedding light on the experience of male-identifying survivors of sexual assault. Through her PhD, she is progressing how we understand and better support these survivors and their help-seeking behaviour in Australia.

We sat down with April to talk about her passion for criminology, her incredible supervisors and how she never thought she’d be ‘smart enough’ to do a PhD.

I’m hoping that my research will further our understandings of sexual violence and show victims and survivors that we see them, believe them and are working on ways to improve their access to support.

April's PhD Journey

Why did you choose to study a PhD at Deakin?

I chose to study at Deakin because the University allowed me to explore two areas of research, psychology and criminology. I was given the freedom to find my passion in criminology and grow my research ideas.

What is your PhD research project about?

My PhD focuses on the help-seeking behaviour of male-identifying victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse in Australia.

Using western understandings of power, masculinity, and ideal victim theory, my research hopes to add to the growing field around sexual violence and its impacts on male-identifying survivors and their access to support.

What have you achieved that you never would have thought possible before beginning your PhD?

I never thought I would be ‘smart enough’ for a PhD, so simply being a research degree student is a significant achievement for me!

I have been allowed to focus on a research area that I’m passionate about and been given the opportunity to spread my knowledge. I have published academic articles, presented at international conferences, helped on numerous research projects, and been given the ultimate honour of teaching new students about the wonders of criminology.

My PhD has also helped me realised that the mountain isn’t as scary as it looks, and if I take it step by step, with the guidance of my supervisors, I can reach the top.

See what April's working on

How will your research help make an impact on society?

I’m hoping that my research will further our understandings of sexual violence and show victims and survivors that we see them, believe them and are working on ways to improve their access to support.

I also hope to bring awareness around the far-reaching impacts of sexual violence, how it is not restricted to age, gender, race, culture, sexuality, or location.

How has Deakin supported you to achieve your goals?

Throughout my entire time at Deakin, the incredible staff – as well as access to a wealth of opportunities – gave me the chance to build up my skills.

I had tutors who believed in me and my work throughout my undergraduate course, and now I have supervisors who support and encourage me in all areas and opportunities.

I also met wonderful researchers who gave me a chance, and the opportunity, to grow my experience as an emerging researcher.

What are your future career ambitions? How will your PhD help you realise these?

I would love to continue the work I started with my PhD and disseminate that knowledge through articles, books and articles on The Conversation. I would also be thrilled to keep teaching and to have a balance of research work and projects.

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