I am an applied social scientist dedicated to research that makes a difference to the way in which vulnerable children and adults can keep safe. After completing a degree in Sociology and training as a social worker I initially conducted research aimed at improving children's participation in services designed to safeguard them.
My PhD (Child Abuse Troubles, Lancaster University, 1996) and early books (Child Sexual Abuse: Listening, Hearing and Validating The Experiences of Children (1989), Making a Case in Child Protection (1992) & Child Sexual Abuse: Responding to the Experiences of Children, (1999)) impacted on policy through membership of the Home Office Pigot Code of Practice Steering Group which drafted the Memorandum of Good Practice on Video Recorded Interviews with Child Witnesses for Criminal Proceedings (1992), membership of the WHO Prevention of Violence Initiative drafting the World Report on Violence and Health (2002) and also appointment to the British Family Justice Council.
I have researched the ways in which different European countries respond to violence against children through several EU collaborations (the Concerted Action on the Prevention of Child Abuse in Europe (CAPCAE), CUPICSO (Collection and Use of Personal Information on Child Sex Offenders in Europe), SIFS (Social Inclusion and Family Support), PANDORA (Confidentiality and the Response to Children in 5 European Countries) and CAHRV (Co-ordination Action on Human Rights Violation).
Over recent years my focus has been on safeguarding children through developing and applying new technologies; initially in ISIS which created software to identify age and gender in computer mediated communication, followed by UDesignIT co-producing applications to facilitate child concern reporting and iCOP (identifying child abuse image originations in Peer to Peer networks).
In addition I also research vulnerability, resilience and support needs in adults through an ESRC funded longitudinal study on gambling and crime (Tracking Vulnerability and Resilience in Gambling Crime Careers), research on self neglect in older people and the contribution of social work to child and adult well-being.