Dr Vicky Sharley

PhD (Cardiff), BSc (Plym.), PG Cert (Cardiff)

  • BS8 1TZ

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research focuses upon child welfare and protection. As a society, and internationally, there are acute and chronic issues of maltreatment which face children and need addressing. Child protection is a serious issue that involves a complex network of professionals. My specific focus is on the interactional environment, and in what way systems can be improved so childcare professionals are better able to protect children. I am a registered Social Worker with Social Work England with a professional background in England and Wales.

In the last five years my research has broadened to the global context, particularly the global south, where I am working with international partners and local community organisations in Africa. We have a number of ongoing projects that seek to investigate formal and informal responses to children's care, welfare and education within the community.

Methodologically I have experience of mixed methods approaches, quantitative and qualitative: social work case file analysis, semi-structured interviews, non-participation observation, and focus groups. I have particular familiarity with researching sensitive topics with children, families, and professionals in school and community settings, and of undertaking collaborative research within different cultural contexts. 

Projects in Progress:

2021-24 'Care Work and Economy Africa: towards transformative care systems and economies, to harness Africa’s demographic transition'. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. £410,336.  With Professor Isabella Aboderin, Perivoli Africa Research Centre (PARC) and African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC).

2020-21 'Kids Under Cover Feasibility Study'. Commonweal Housing & 1625 Independent People. £10,000. With Dr Jon Symonds.

Projects Completed:

2018-19 ‘Understanding Child Fosterage in Namibia: children’s health and wellbeing in extended family contexts’. (£8,105) Funder: GCRF (University of Bristol’s Global Challenges Research Fund allocation from Research England). With Dr Janet Ananias and Dr Emma Leonard (University of Namibia), Dr Heather Ottaway.

2017-18 ‘Understanding Child Neglect in Namibia’. (£4,429) Funder: GCRF (University of Bristol’s Global Challenges Research Fund allocation from Research England). With Dr Janet Ananias and Dr Emma Leonard (University of Namibia), Dr Alyson Rees.

2014-18 ‘Identifying and Responding to Child Neglect in Schools in Wales’ (£68,000) PhD Studentship, Cardiff University. Funder: Welsh Government through Health and Care Research Wales.

External positions

Associate Editor, International Journal of Social Welfare

1 Jul 2021 → …

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • SPS Children and Families Research Centre
  • Child Protection
  • Children's Services
  • Interprofessional Practice
  • Child Neglect
  • Families and Parenting
  • Perivoli Africa Research Centre (PARC)
  • Namibia
  • Children and Families
  • Children's Health and Welfare
  • Schools


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