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Dr Nicola Farrelly

Research Associate
School of Social Work, Care and Community
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Nicola Farrelly is a research associate with the School of Social Work, Care and Community. Her research focuses on the needs of children and young people, particularly those who have experienced forms of harm and abuse, and engaging children and young people in research on issues which affect them.

Nicola has worked as a research associate within the School of Social Work, Care and Community since 2009.

As a member of the Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm, she has undertaken several large-scale studies focussing on interventions aimed at preventing harm and abuse for children and young people:

The Evaluation of Speak Out Stay Safe (TESSE): an independent mixed-method evaluation of a programme developed and delivered by the NSPCC in primary schools across the UK to help young children recognise and seek help around child abuse and domestic violence, neglect, bullying and wider peer violence.

Her PhD: Domestic violence prevention for children: an evaluation of a primary school-based programme also examined, qualitatively and quantitatively, primary school children’s experiences of a relationship education intervention which sought to support children around issues such as domestic violence, child abuse, online abuse and peer violence.

Preventing Domestic Abuse for Children (PEACH): an overview of interventions aimed at preventing domestic violence, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, identified and collated evidence relating to preventive interventions for children and young people in the general population.
She therefore has considerable expertise in engaging with younger children on sensitive issue and in facilitating children and young people to contribute to research.

Beyond the Connect Centre, Nicola has completed evaluations of services for looked after children and care leavers: Evaluation of a Leaving Care Service a mixed methods evaluation of an independent care leavers service; Evaluation of Social Work Practices (SWP): a large-scale evaluation of a national pilot exploring new ways of providing social work services to looked after children and young people.

Nicola has also completed qualitative studies with children and young people, including Biehal, N., Wade, J., Farrelly, N., & Sinclair, I. (2011). Caring for abused and neglected children: Making the right decisions for reunification or long-term care. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Prior to working within the field of social work research, Nicola worked for several years supporting looked after children and young people leaving care with the Together Trust and as a support worker with children and young people with learning disabilities. She therefore has a long-standing interest in the needs and experiences of vulnerable children and children and young people who have lived with trauma.

  • PhD Social Sciences, The University of Central Lancashire, 2020
  • MA Applied Social Research, The University of Manchester, 2005
  • BA Hons, Sociology, University of York, 1998
  • Interpersonal violence and harm
  • Child abuse and harm
  • Primary prevention
  • Evaluation of school-based programmes
  • Looked after children and care leavers
  • Interventions for children and young people