Victoria Copeland

Victoria Copeland

PhD Candidate


M.S.W., UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
B.A. in Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Areas of Interest:

Abolition, Black Feminist Thought, Black Radical Tradition, Carceral State, Child Welfare, Predictive Analytics, Surveillance


Victoria Copeland is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social Welfare and organizer/partner with the Cops Off Campus Coalition, UC Survivors + Allies, Let’s Get Free LA Coalition, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, and Defund MPD Coalition. Her research within and outside of the academy is rooted in Black feminist abolitionist epistemology and focuses on the use of multi-system data infrastructures, predictive analytics, and surveillance in decision-making processes.

Her dissertation work, Dismantling the Carceral Ecosystem: Investigating the Role of “Child Protection” and Family Policing in Los Angeles was conducted in partnership with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and Downtown Women’s Action Coalition to better understand the role and impact of the “child welfare” system, its use of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, and to chart different pathways towards an abolitionist future.

In addition to her scholarly work, Victoria is a Senior Tech Policy Analyst in Washington DC where she works on local and federal policy regarding the use of data and surveillance technologies within law enforcement, child welfare, and housing.

Prior to starting her doctoral studies Victoria received a B.A. in Psychology from UNLV, and MSW from UCLA.

Selected Publications

Copeland, V. A. (2021). “It’s the Only System We’ve Got”: Exploring Emergency Response

Decision-Making in Child Welfare. Columbia Journal of Race and Law, 11(3), 43–74.

Copeland, V. (2021). Centering Unacknowledged Histories: Revisiting NABSW Demands to

Repeal ASFA.  Journal of Public Child Welfare.

Copeland, V. & Pendleton, M. (2021, Dec) The Surveillance of Black Families in the Family

Policing System. UpEND.