Maddie Blackburn

PhD candidate and Chair od The Open University Sexuality Alliance., The Open University

I retired from full time employment in 2012. I originally trained as a nurse, midwife and as a health visitor in the 1970s. I am a qualified lawyer, senior health professional with extensive background in policy development, research, management, law and performance auditing. Over the years, I have developed considerable experience in national and international children’s policy and legislation across different health, social care, criminal justice, legal, regulatory and charity organisations. I have also held several clinical and senior management roles in both adult and children’s services (as a CEO and Director). I regularly speak at conferences and contribute to national debates on disability and safety. My research and policy interests include:

Sexuality and Disability

Children and young adults with complex needs

Ethical issues and

Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults

In the 1990s, I was awarded a Fellowship from former ASBAH, now SMILE, to undertake a study of the Sexual Knowledge and Experiences of young people with Spina Bifida and or Hydrocephlaus. This led to the publication of my first book" Sexuality and Disability" (2002), Butterworth- Heinemann, now Elsevier Science.

I was formerly a Solicitor in London and Children's Policy Officer at The Law Society, England and Wales. I was Head of Children's Young People's Strategy at the former Health Care Commission, now the CQC, a CEO of former Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, and Director of Care Development with Together for Short Lives until I retired in 2012. I later began my PhD at The Open University and in 2013, and with Dr Sarah Earle, set up The OU Sexuality Alliance.


  • –present
    PhD candidate, The Open University


Regional Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine