Professor Karen Broadhurst

Professor of Social Work

Research Interests

My research interests are in child and family justice. I have a particular interest in the formal operation of the family courts and related institutions, their impact on family life, as well as alternative problem solving approaches to justice.

Recent work has focused on women in the family courts, the intersection of social science and legal knowledge in family court decision-making as well as methods of therapeutic jurisprudence.

Centre for Child and Family Justice Research

I am currently Co-Director of 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.

Data Science Institute

I am also Society Lead for the Data Science Institute at the University. Society colleagues undertake data intensive research to tackle long-standing and new social problems.

I am Principal Investigator and Co-Director for a new £2.2 million Nuffield funded project which aims to accelerate intelligence about how the family justice is working using administrative data. This is part of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory initiative.

Other current Expert/Editorial Roles

I am also serving as advisor to HMCTS for the evaluation of family court reform.

I Chair the advisory board of the PAUSE project

I sit on the Editorial Board of Family Court Review led by the international Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

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.

Building Trauma-informed Responses in Supporting Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Community of Practice Approach
01/03/2020 → 31/03/2021

Improving safe, ethical and effective practice when the State Intervenes to protect newborn babies at birth: co-designing and testing an evidence informed guideline
01/09/2019 → 30/11/2021

DSI: SafePod
26/08/2019 → 30/09/2021

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory Transition Phase
01/03/2019 → 31/08/2019

DSI: Establishment of a Data Platform and Analytics Service for the Family Justice Observatory and the provision of research and results to the FJO and general public.
01/01/2019 → 30/06/2023

Time Bound Project 2 - Rural Social Work
01/04/2018 → 30/06/2019

Family Justice Observatory - Development Phase
01/03/2018 → 31/03/2020

Specialist Family Law and Prison Law Advice and Advocacy Service for Mothers in Prison: Evaluation of implementation and effectiveness of pilot project to meet needs of those at risk of losing children to adoption or other Family Law interventions
01/07/2016 → 30/06/2019

A Review of Cases of Contested Adoption
01/05/2012 → 30/09/2012

Evaluation of the peer support for the senior social work managers pilot programme
01/02/2010 → 31/03/2011

Children missing from education in Blackpool
01/01/2002 → 31/12/2004

The Illumination of the Child Protection Framework in the United Kingdom to Chinese Child Protection Policies and Practices
01/01/1900 → …

  • Centre for Child and Family Justice Research
  • DSI - Society