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Dr Helen Richardson Foster

Research Fellow
School of Social Work, Care and Community

Helen Richardson Foster is a Research Fellow in the Connect Centre For International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm. Her research interests are domestic violence, children’s social care and family support.

Helen currently works on the SafeLives and Women’s Aid ‘Roadmap’ evaluation of domestic violence services, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, with Professor Nicky Stanley (PI) and other colleague in the Connect Centre. She also works on evaluation and research projects concerning domestic violence and abuse, support for families, child abuse and neglect. She supervises PhD students and MA dissertations.

Helen has over 20 years’ experience working as a researcher working in primary research and programme evaluation in social work, health, educational and community settings. She has worked as a researcher in universities, the voluntary and private sector. She currently is involved in the ‘Roadmap’ evaluation, which is a large evaluation of domestic abuse support services running from 2018-2021. Helen has experience of conducting systematic literature reviews, working with colleagues in the Connect Centre including a review of response to child sexual abuse for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and of early childhood and domestic abuse (funded by the NSPCC). She first worked at the University of Central Lancashire from 2007-2010 on a multi-site research project funded by the NSPCC exploring the response of children's services and the police to children experiencing domestic abuse. Helen completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield. The study was funded through the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) CASE studentship scheme and was a collaboration with two local safeguarding children boards. Her thesis titled ‘Achieving a child focus? A Study of Child protection conferences in cases of neglect’ was a qualitative exploration of professional practice in child protection conferences. Whilst at the University of Sheffield she also worked on research projects including an evaluation of methods and materials to promote the voice of the child in child protection conference and a project for the Nuffield Foundation examining the judiciary's use of child welfare research. Helen is a trustee and member of the Association of Child Protection Professionals (formerly BASPCAN). She was the Scientific Committee Administrator for the 2015 and 2012 BASPCAN congress events.

  • PhD, University of Sheffield 2016
  • MSc, Social Research, University of Surrey 2002
  • BSocSc, Public Policy Making and Administration, University of Birmingham, 1995
  • Domestic violence and abuse
  • Family support
  • Children’s social work
  • Child neglect
  • Multi-agency work
  • Association of Child Protection Professionals (member)