Skip to main content

Professor Carlene Firmin

Professor Carlene Firmin, MBE, delivered her inaugural lecture in style with over 2500 participants registering to watch online.

Her speech, ‘Green lights, speed bumps and cul-de-sacs: the road to Contextual Safeguarding’ drew an audience from around the UK as well as internationally, with people logging in from as far afield as the United States. 

Contextual Safeguarding 

In her inaugural professorial lecture, Carlene charted the journey to developing and implementing Contextual Safeguarding, a term she first pioneered. She outlined where progress has been swift; revisions to national policy, buy-in from individual practitioners and local authority test sites; and the introduction of social work activities to assess the welfare of children in the extra-familial contexts where they spend their time.  

Reconnect Social Work and Social Justice 

During her speech Carlene paid tribute to the various people who have been with her along the way.  

After her lecture she said: “I was floored that so many people wanted to hear about, and celebrate, that journey. I hope everyone who heard the speech felt motivated by both the progress we’ve made and the speed bumps we are yet to overcome. The journey is far from over.  

“In the coming years my team and I will further evidence: changes required to statutory safeguarding guidance; routes to addressing the structural drivers of extra-familial harm; the relationships between education systems and extra-familial harm; and the use of Contextual Safeguarding to reconnect social work with social justice. Through this work we will continue to champion child protection systems capable of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young people - wherever they come harm.” 

Carlene’s appointment will see our Department of Sociology become a hub for research into Contextual Safeguarding.  

Find out more: