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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Karen Broadhurst supervises 6 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Karen Broadhurst

Professor of Social Work

Karen Broadhurst

Lancaster University

Bowland North



Tel: +44 1524 594126

PhD supervision

Research Interests


Experience, Funding and Advisory Positions

I have over 25 years experience in research focused on child and family justice. I have been awarded funding from the Nuffield Foundation, ESRC, Australian Research Council, the British Academy, national and local government, Wolfson, Sheila Kitzinger Foundation. My research has improved the lives of parents and children at the sharp-end of children's services by providing the first estimates of parents' vulnerability to repeat involvement in the family courts and thereby, catalysing new bespoke prevention programmes.


I am currently serving as expert advisor to the Independent Review of Children's Social Care, the Archbishops' Commission on Families and Households and the HMCTS court reform programme. I recently served as advisor to the President of the Family Division's Public Law Working Group. 


Data Science

I co-direct Lancaster University's interdisciplinary Data Science Intitute, reflecting my expertise in the safe/ethical use of controlled data for social research. I co-chair the University's management board which is overseeing the development of a secure data science infrastructure.

I am currently Principal Investigator (with the SAIL Databank, Swansea University) for the £2.2M data arm of the the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, which is delivering planned and on-demand rapid analyses of novel linked datasets. I am member of the Academic Advisory Group for the UKRI ESRC funded Data First Programme, led by the Ministry of Justice. I have served as funding panel chair for the ESRC's fellowship scheme linked to this programme. I am a member of the Social Care Data Panel Wales and expert member of the Research Committee for the Children and Family Court Advisory Service.


Centre for Child and Family Justice Research

In 2015, and following my return to Lancaster I established the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research, which is an interdisciplinary research centre working in close collaboration with policy and practice partners. The Centre is home to researchers, national and international doctoral students and visitors. 




New Open Access Articles and Reports

"Born into Care" - read our new statistics on newborn babies in care proceedings in England.

Listen to Radio 4 Today Programme coverage of this issue

Read Sanchia Berg's coverage of the report (BBC news)

Read the Guardian newspaper response from Amelia Hill


Current Research Projects

 With colleagues at UCL, the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research is pursuing novel linkages of family court and health data to understand the health needs of women in public law proceedings

With colleagues at UEA, the Centre is examining the pattern of fathers appearances in public law proceedings, the wellbeing of fathers and family relationships

With colleagues in Australia and the US, I am collaborating in the SIB (State Intervention with Babies) project funded by the Australian Research Council. 

With Peking University and supported by a British Academy Grant I am examining the development of child protection in China.


Birth Mothers in Recurrent Care Proceedings

Project articles and reports are available from the Nuffield Foundation funded study of birth mothers and recurrent care proceedings - many are free to download

Watch our Turning Points  film here - what helps women to turn their lives around?

Final conference slides and papers are also free to download


PhD Supervision

I have extensive experience of doctoral research and currently supervise a cohort of students funded by the ESRC. I welcome applications from students interested in pursuing studies broadly relating to state support for families, child protection, the family courts, therapeutic court models; children and young people in and leaving care.

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