After graduating with a social sciences degree, Laura worked as a volunteer for Middlesbrough Law Centre, which did a lot of work with women needing advice or emergency legal protection against domestic violence. It played a key role in raising her awareness of domestic violence issues.
Laura studied an MA Socio-Legal Studies and then worked as a criminology tutor for the Open University. Her next role was as a research associate at Newcastle University on a project examining the police response to domestic violence in Tyneside – a collaboration between the University and Northumbria Police. In 1992 Laura came to teach criminology at Teesside.