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Professor Corinne May-Chahal

Professor Corinne May-Chahal

Professor, Associate Director: Security Lancaster, Head of Department

Location: C145


Child care, child protection and children in care
Social Work
Assure Evaluation
Centre for Gender and Women's Studies
Security Lancaster

PhD Supervision Interests

As ESRC North West Doctoral Training Centre Lancaster pathway lead for social work I am happy to take students with a serious interest in taking the social work and social care practice knowledge base further particular on an international and/or comparative level. In addition I have strong research interests in child protection (especially in the development and application of new technologies) and also gambling, criminal careers, resilience and vulnerability.


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.

Research Interests

Social Responsibility and Gambling 

A review of research to inform policy development on young people and gambling in the UK was published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as a technical report Young People and Gambling in Britain. The research team, led by Professor May-Chahal, also work in the areas of health and social impact assessment, community impact assessments, gambling, debt and help seeking and developing a public health approach in gambling. A further report for the DCMS on developing a health and social impact assessment framework to measure the impact of the Gambling Act, 2005, involving a consortium of researchers from the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK can be viewed at http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/research_and_statistics/4864.aspx.

OffGam (with Jill Anderson, Les Humphreys and Allie Wilson) researched gambling in prisons, including the evaluation of cognitive behavioural interventions to address gambling problems in the prison environment, funded by the Responsibility in Gambling Trust.  This study identified the extent of problem gambling in 2 English prison populations. International studies find that between a quarter and a third of offenders may be defined as problem gamblers. During the last decade, the UK has seen unprecedented changes in gambling legislation and opportunities. Offgam found that levels of problem gambling were in line with global estimates. 27.8% of male prisoners and 18.1% of female prisoners were rated as medium-risk and problem gamblers. Gambling problems were linked to current and previous offending for between 7% and 13% of all incarcerated offenders (see http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hojo.2012.51.issue-4/issuetoc).

An ESRC Seminar Series on International Transformations: Preventing UK Gambling Harm. A report from the first three seminars which focused on research, the gambling industry and policy can be found on the RIGT website (http://www.rigt.org.uk/research/101.asp).

Principle Investigator ESRC funded 3 year study 'Tracking Vulnerability and Resilience in Gambling Crime Careers'. The research team based at Lancaster and Glasgow Universities is exploring patterns of risk, vulnerability and resilience among offenders in prisons and on release in both England and Scotland. The study is tracking longitudinal data from the Police National Computer alongside in-depth narrative interviews across 3 time points to examine the relationship between crime and problem gambling, and also links to mental health, substance misuse and patterns of deprivation (see http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/projects/tracking-vulnerability/).

Child Protection and Wellbeing

Experience in comparative European social policy in child welfare through involvement in several European funded research collaborations. Amongst completed projects are the Concerted Action on the Prevention of Child Abuse in Europe (CAPCAE) a project funded under the EC Biomed II programme for which she was co-ordinator, 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 Child Sexual Abuse in 5 European Countries), and comparative research on protective factors for human rights violations as part of the Co-ordination Action on Human Rights Violation (CAHRV). National projects include Measuring the Prevalence of Child Maltreatment in the UK (Cawson et. al. 2000; May-Chahal & Cawson, 2005) and The Relationship between Child Death and Child Maltreatment, (May-Chahal et al, 2003). Regional projects have included Developing Collaborative Commissioning Models for Looked After Children with the North West ADSS and NCH Action for Children, Missing Children (with Blackpool and CYPU) and evaluation of the Children's Fund in St Helen's .

Co-investigator on the ESRC/EPSRC funded Isis project (Lancaster University, Middlesex University and Swansea University), which developed an ethics-centred monitoring framework and tools for supporting law enforcement agencies in policing online social networks for the purpose of protecting children. For more information, see http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/isis/

Co-investigator on the iCOP project (funded by the EU's Safer Internet program) iwhich is developing a novel forensics software toolkit to support law enforcement agencies across the EU in identifying new or previously unknown child abuse media and its originators on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (see http://scc-sentinel.lancs.ac.uk/icop/).

Co-investigator UDesignIT, an EPSRC funded cross-disciplinary account (see http://scc-sentinel.lancs.ac.uk/youdesignit/?q=node/3). Social networking technologies are now being used to improve community cohesion via both government-led initiatives (e.g., Gov 2.0) and community-led ones (e.g., SeeClickFix). Yet there is still a lack of understanding of how to effectively leverage social media to engage citizens on an ultra-large-scale, especially when it comes to addressing sensitive issues such as crime and anti-social behaviour. YouDesignIT combines Computing and Social Science research to study the feasibility of utilising new forms of social media to empower children and young people to influence the design of such systems to ensure their participation in safer 'cyborg' childhoods (see May-Chahal et al., 2012, Safeguarding Cyborg Childhoods: Incorporating the On/Offline Behaviour of Children into Everyday Social Work Practices, British Journal of Social Work, http://bjsw.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/bcs121?ijkey=QK9976x9WFdScBz

Current Teaching

Children and Families (MA)

Current Doctoral Supervision Areas: Self Neglect in Older People, Financial Exclusion, Gambling and PublicHealth, ChildWelfare, Emotional Literacy, Social Work Practices.


Stopping rape: towards a comprehensive policy

Walby, S., Olive, P., Towers, J., Francis, B., Strid, S., Krizsan, A., Lombardo, E., May-Chahal, C., Franzway, S., Sugarman, D., Aganwal, B. & Armstrong, J. 22/07/2015 Bristol: Policy Press. 308 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Managing emergent ethical concerns for software engineering in society

Rashid, A., Moore, K., May-Chahal, C. & Chitchyan, R. 16/06/2015 Software Engineering (ICSE), 2015 IEEE/ACM 37th IEEE International Conference on (Volume:2 ). IEEE, p. 523-526 4 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsConference contribution


Safeguarding cyborg childhoods: incorporating the on/offline behaviour of children into everyday social work practices

May-Chahal, C., Mason, C., Rashid, A., Walkerdine, J., Rayson, P. & Greenwood, P. 2014 In: British Journal of Social Work. 44, 3, p. 596-614 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Overview of the worldwide best practices for rape prevention and for assisting women victims of rape

Walby, S., Olive, P., Towers, J., Francis, B., Strid, S., Krizsán, A., Lombardo, E., May-Chahal, C., Franzway, S., Sugarman, D. & Agarwal, B. 10/10/2013 European Parliament. 212 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsCommissioned report

Who am I? Analysing Digital Personas in Cybercrime Investigations

Rashid, A., Baron, A., Rayson, P., May-Chahal, C., Greenwood, P. & Walkerdine, J. 04/2013 In: Computer. 46, 4, p. 54-61 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Promoting an Evidence-Informed Approach to Addressing Problem Gambling in UK Prison Populations

May-Chahal, C., Wilson, A., Humphreys, L. & Anderson, J. 09/2012 In: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice. 51, 4, p. 372–386 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Engaging community support in safeguarding adults from self-neglect

May-Chahal, C. & Antrobus, R. 2012 In: British Journal of Social Work. 42, 8, p. 1478-1494 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Breaching Private Life with Authority: Finding a necessary feature of social work

May-Chahal, C. & Man Kwong, H. 22/12/2011 In: Qualitative Social Work. 10, 4, p. 520-536 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Forensics Software for Detecting Online Paedophile Activity

Walkerdine, J., Greenwood, P., Rashid, A., Rayson, P., May-Chahal, C., Duquenoy, P., Watson, P., Jones, M. & Brennan, M. 11/2009 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Supporting Law Enforcement in Digital Communities through Natural Language Analysis

Hughes, D., Rayson, P., Walkerdine, J., Lee, K., Greenwood, P., Rashid, A., May-Chahal, C. & Brennan, M. 2008 Computational Forensics: Second International Workshop, IWCF 2008, Washington, DC, USA, August 7-8, 2008. Proceedings. Srihari, S. N. & Franke, K. (eds.). Berlin: Springer, p. 122-134 13 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; vol. 5158)

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsPaper


Making a case for common assessment framework responses to concerns about children

Thorpe, D., Regan, S., Mason, C. & May-Chahal, C. 2007 In: Social Work and Social Sciences Review. 12, 3, p. 40-56 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Making enquiries under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.

May-Chahal, C. A. & Mason, C. 2007 The child protection handbook: the practitioner's guide to safeguarding children. James, A. & Wilson, K. (eds.). Edinburgh: Balliere Tindall, p. 232-245 14 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter


Gender and child maltreatment: the evidence base.

May-Chahal, C. A. 1/01/2006 In: Social Work and Society. 4, 1

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Child maltreatment in the family: a European perspective.

May-Chahal, C. A., Bertotti, T., Cerezo, M. A. & Di-Blasio, P. 1/05/2006 In: European Journal of Social Work. 9, 1, p. 3-20 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Integrating objects of intervention and organisational relevance: the case of safeguarding children missing from education systems.

Broadhurst, K. E. & May-Chahal, C. 11/2006 In: Child Abuse Review. 15, 6, p. 440-455 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Measuring child maltreatment in the United Kingdom: A study of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect

May-Chahal, C. & Cawson, P. 02/2005 In: Child Abuse and Neglect. 29, 9, p. 943

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Evaluating Family Support: A European Perspective

Wattam, C., Cooper, L. & Katz, I. 2003 Evaluating Family Support: Thinking Internationally, Thinking Critically. Katz, I. & Pinkerton, J. (eds.). Chichester: Wiley

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Child sexual abuse in Europe.

May-Chahal, C. A. & Herczog, M. 2003 Council of Europe Publishing. 246 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Social Exclusion, Family Support and Evaluation.

May-Chahal, C., Katz, I. & Cooper, L. 2003 Evaluating family support: thinking internationally, thinking critically. Katz, I. & Pinkerton, J. (eds.). Chichester: Wiley, p. 45-72 28 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Safeguarding children and young people.

May-Chahal, C. & Coleman, S. 2003 London: Routledge. 192 p. (Social work skills series)

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook


A sociological approach to child witness research.

May-Chahal, C. A. 2002 Children's Testimony: A Handbook of Psychological Research and Forensic Practice. Wiley, 345 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter


The Prevention of Child Abuse

Wattam, C. 1999 In: Children and Society. 13, 4, p. 317-329 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Wattam, C. 1999 Child Sexual Abuse: Responding to the Experiences of Children. Wattam, C. & Parton, N. (eds.). Chichester: Wiley, (Wiley series in child protection and policy)

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter


Is the Criminalisation of Child Harm and Injury in the Interests of Children?

Wattam, C. 1997 In: Children and Society. 11, 2, p. 97-107 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Child Protection: Risk and the Moral Order

Wattam, C., Parton, N. & Thorpe, D. H. 1997 Basingstoke: Macmillan. 276 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook


Making a Case in Child Protection

Wattam, C. 1992 Harlow: Longman. 207 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook


Investigating Child Sexual Abuse: A Question of Relevance

Wattam, C. 1989 Child Sexual Abuse: Listening, Hearing and Validating The Experiences of children. Blagg, H., Hughes, J. & Wattam, C. (eds.). Harlow: Wiley, p. 27-43 17 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter


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