Professor Jane Callaghan

Director Child Wellbeing & Protection

Social Work Colin Bell Building, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Professor Jane Callaghan

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About me

Professor Callaghan is the Director of the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection. She is a psychologist and interdisciplinary researcher, with an established record of research in areas related to childhood, violence, family life, relationships, discrimination and exclusion, and mental health and identity. Two clear strands are in evidence in her research – research focused on violence, health, children’s mental health, social vulnerability and family life, and a related strand focused on gender, professional identities, and ethnicity.

At the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection, she leads numerous projects, including the project Make A Change, evaluating the implementation of a programme to provide earlier intervention for people who use violence in their intimate relationships. She is also principal investigator on the NSPCC funded project " The experiences of victims in the criminal justice system: a qualitative research project", which explores the experiences of children giving evidence as victims in criminal justice proceedings. With Dr Louise McCabe, she is co-PI on the Life Changes Trust Evaluation, a five year project that uses creative and co-produced methods to explore the impact of the Life Changes Trust in providing services for children and young people who have experienced care, people with dementia, and people who care for those with dementia.

She has been principal investigator on the four nation European Commission funded project “Understanding Agency and Resistance Strategies – Children’s Experiences of Domestic Violence”, the largest qualitative study of children who live with domestic violence conducted to date. This project is currently extended through the Big Lottery Funded ‘She’ Programme, which provides whole system support for families seeking an end to domestic violence. Current and recent projects include supporting care leavers’ engagement with Higher Education, support needs for women and infants after domestic abuse, and programmes to reduce young children's risk in relation to abuse. In addition, she has completed projects focused on mental health services for looked after children and young offenders, the transformation of mental health services to increase young people’s participation in the interventions offered to them, creative interventions with young people excluded from education, and young care leavers’ engagement with higher education.She has published in a range of international journals, as well as numerous peer reviewed book chapters, and two books. She is editor of the Journal of Gender studies, and an editorial board member for the Journal of Family Violence.

Community Contribution

Expert Advisor, Department of Work and Pensions
Department of Work and Pensions, UK
Prof Callaghan was asked to provide expert advice to the DWP and Lord Freud on the needs of families who have experienced domestic abuse, and families who have experienced bereavement. In this role, she was able to secure six months unconditionality under universal credit for adult carers who had lost a spouse or partner, or who were fleeing domestic abuse.

Expert witness: Home Affairs Select Committee, session on the Domestic Abuse Bill (westminster)
Home Office…-evidence-17-19/
Professor Callaghan provided expert testimony on the experience of children to the Home Affairs Select Committee at Westminster, in 2019.

Expert witness: Scottish Government Evidence Session on the removal of the defence of reasonable chastisement
Scottish Government…february-28-2019
Professor Callaghan gave expert testimony on the removal of the defense of reasonable chastisement that is currently enables parents to use physical punishment with their children. She argued that continuities between physical punishment and other forms of family violence were clearly evidenced, as were the negative outcomes of physical punishment regardless of the motivation of the parent / carer.

Other Project

Early years consultant: Women's Aid Federation England

This project, commissioned by Women's Aid Federation England, focused on the development of a toolkit to enable domestic abuse support workers to provide sensitive support for women who are pregnant of have a child under 3. Domestic abuse has a significant impact on relationships between parents and babies, and this can have long term consequences for children's later development. The project involves interviews with women affected by domestic abuse, who are either pregnant of have young children, and with domestic abuse specialist workers, to inform the development of an approach to supporting women and children that is both woman and infant centred.

The She Project

The SHE provides an integrated support programme for families affected by domestic violence. We have been commissioned to evaluate the intervention as a whole, and to deliver an intervention for children and young people affected by domestic violence and abuse, and for families where there is a baby under 3 years old. Prof Callaghan is Principal Investigator. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.