The secret pathways of relationality: uncoupling beyond the couple

dogbod2020, blog

‘What a foamy mixture a couple is. Even if the relationship shatters and ends, it continues to act in secret pathways, it doesn’t die, it doesn’t want to die’. So observes Olga, the protagonist in Elena Ferrante’s crushing novel The days of abandonment. Olga’s observations come from within the scene of her unravelling … Read More »

“Just the fault of religion”?

dogbod2020, blog

Are some organisations more likely than others to sexually abuse children, due to their unique beliefs and behaviour? Or is it the risk factors they share with other, different organisations which enable abuse to continue unchecked? Leading football clubs, classical music colleges and the modelling industry for instance appear very different, yet they share one vital risk factor.… Read More »

Impact of covid-19 on care home relatives – first findings


A team of researchers has been investigating the impact of covid-19 on families with relatives in care homes. The ‘impact of covid on care home relatives’ project is led by George Palattiyil Senior Lecturer of Social Work, School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh and is funded by the Chief Scientist Office.… Read More »

South Asian child sexual abuse – what we need to know

dogbod2020, blog

The June report published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) discusses how children and young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities (BAME) can face additional barriers to disclosing and reporting child sexual abuse. I have been researching one such barrier for three years, investigating how concepts of Shame and Honour in South Asian communities can amplify… Read More »

A blog conversation between Helen Moewaka Barnes and Rosalind Edwards: indigenous knowledges and intersectionality

dogbod2020, blog

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships is holding its seminar, ‘Intersectionality Families and Relationships – Colonisation, Climate Change, Children’s Rights: Has Covid-19 changed the agenda?’ on the 11th and 12th of November 2020. In this short blog, two of our guest speakers Helen Moewaka Barnes and Ros Edwards, talk… Read More »

Congratulations to Dr Sarah Nelson


CRFR are delighted that Dr Sarah Nelson, Research Associate at CRFR, has been awarded an OBE for her longstanding work on behalf of survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Sarah has conducted research and used it to advocate for survivors over many decades.… Read More »

How resilient do we want our children and young people to be?

dogbod2017, blog

As a social worker I was fortunate to meet a number of children and young people who I would describe as ‘resilient’. The work of Gilligan (2001) was highly influential on my practice and I considered ways in which I might foster resilience in the children I worked with, particularly those children to whom we owed corporate parenting responsibilities… Read More »

‘Doing friendship’ at a distance

dogbod2020, blog

Person sitting on a bed with a laptop

Friendships are valued as a form of exchanging social support – information, resources and mutual confiding – and for the enjoyment of taking part in activities together, sharing humour and having fun. These diverse ways of ‘doing friendship’ contribute to our sense of self and belonging.… Read More »

Why we need to listen to families in fuel poverty about smart meters?

dogbod2020, blog

Fuel poverty is a pressing issue, one likely to be magnified by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Many households will increase their energy use through spending more time at home at the same time as incomes may be reduced. Smart technology has been positioned by developers and government as potentially able to alleviate fuel poverty, yet there has… Read More »

Educating Children During and After Covid-19, Opportunity for Change?

dogbod2020, blog

When in January 2020 I first heard about a virus sweeping through China, I rolled into a big branded pharmacy and bought the last 2 remaining anti-viral hand-sanitiser. These types of items were already flying off the shelves. Those of us purchasing at that time would most likely be the ones preparing for a pandemic, we at best guessed the virus would be here very soon, and at… Read More »

Listening to young people during Covid-19 challenges common adult assumptions about their peer relationships

dogbod2020, blog

Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

The experiences and perspectives of children and young people are generally missing from coverage and discussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects. This is not a unique situation, as children’s status in society positions them as a marginalised group. In this blog post, I will focus on what children and young people’s experiences of … Read More »

Birth and beyond in a pandemic: Findings from a project with mothers in the England lockdown of spring 2020

dogbod2020, blog

When I found myself sitting with PPE-clad nurses in a GP surgery with my 8 week old infant being vaccinated amidst pin-drop silence in an empty clinic, I knew that I would raise her, locked down, unable to meet friends, my parents unable to fly in from India to see me, unable to attend post-natal clinics, unable to catch day-time moments of sleep with our 4 year old also home now, as nurseries closed… Read More »

COVID: Outside Our Door

dogbod2020, blog

A pandemic is outside our door, outside the safe walls of our little home. We’re both cooped up, inside two tiny rooms, trying to maneuver our way through another period of unchartered waters. Over the years, you grew from a small boy to a young man. And in this time… Read More »

The social life of self-harm, in lockdown

dogbod2020, blog

There has been much written recently on the effects of the lock down on mental health. How do people react to being alone? How does isolation reinforce previous vulnerabilities, and give rise to the perceived need to reinvent one’s everyday life in the face of rampant anxiety? … Read More »

Call for blog posts on families and relationships under lockdown and dealing with covid 19


COVID-19 is impacting on all aspects of family life and personal relationships, as well as on our formal and informal systems of social care. How are we ‘doing’ family life and practicing intimacies during lockdown? What are the consequence on our intergenerational relations – with the youngest and oldest – and how are we protecting those most vulnerable? And what effect has physical distancing had on our connections to strangers, to community life, to civil society and the environment around us? As we all navigate the early days of the pandemic, the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships welcomes blog submissions issues from academics and practitioners working within the field of families and relationships. How has the pandemic affected your families, relationships, the community in which you live and work? What are the challenges you have faced so far, and what are your expectations – good and bad – for the future? Submissions can include, but are not limited to, topics such as caring and intimacy, intergenerational relationships, bodies and emotions, social connections, loneliness, work-life balance, inequality & exclusion, and the environment, as well as reflections on the long-term effects of the coronavirus on service delivery, funding and practice. … Read More

Research with young environmental activists in the UK: challenges and opportunities presented by COVID Lockdown to the researcher and the researched

dogbod2020, blog

Like many researchers, particularly those whose focus is empirical, my data collection was stopped in its tracks in the days leading up to lock down in the UK in March 2020. Along with my research grinding to a halt, so did my ability to think beyond the basics in those days. This rotated around; how could I keep myself and family safe… Read More »

The Children (Scotland) Bill – The Justice Committee’s Recommendations at Stage 1

dogbod2020, blog

The Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament have just issued their Stage 1 Report on the Children (Scotland) Bill. The Bill will reform family law in Scotland, and particularly promises to improve the participation rights of children within family law proceedings. While the Committee approved of this promise, it felt substantial changes and additions were needed to achieve this. We agree. … Read More »


dogbod2020, blog

It seems appropriate to review the possibilities of secondary analysis of data that has already been gathered by face-to-face techniques, as the current pandemic closes down many such forms of research. The substitution of virtual means of data collection for face-to-face means, such as interviewing using internet telephony, is not the only possible… Read More »

‘A recipe for better child participation’

dogbod2019, blog

Thirty years ago, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted. The UNCRC is the most ratified human rights convention. Only the USA has not yet ratified the UNCRC. Article 12 of the UNCRC recognises children’s right to participate in decisions that affect them. Since the UNCRC’s ratification,… Read More »

Researching LGBT+ Families and Relationships in Africa

dogbod2019, blog

Strong in Diversity Bold on Inclusion team

I have been working during 2019 as part of a new consortium project, focused on supporting LGBT+ people in five African cities within Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia and Mozambique (‘LGBT+’ meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and others with experiences outside heterosexual norms of gender and sexuality). The project – Strong in Diversity, Bold on Inclusion… Read More »

Kindness in court: who cares?

dogbod2019, blog

Scotland has an enviable reputation for being a country with a compassionate heart. As a nation, we have been at the forefront of a recent upsurge in understanding of the biological science of the impact of childhood trauma on the developing brain, gaining an awareness of adverse childhood experiences (“ACEs”). Much of the campaigning has been at grassroots level… Read More »

Childhood sexual abuse: At the heart of problems with ACEs policy, Part 2

dogbod2019, blog

In part 1 of this blog (5/7/19) I outlined reasons why reducing childhood sexual abuse (CSA) in society, and addressing its damaging effects in adulthood, need to form and remain a key component of ACES policy. The considerable risks to mental health, and now increasingly to physical health also, have been widely researched and evidenced for decades: more so than any other… Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences: a social justice perspective

dogbod2019, blog

by Gary Walsh (This blog was first posted on 15th May 2019) In this blog I am going to look at ACEs from a social justice perspective. So, what does social justice mean to me? “Research in the field of childhood studies defines social justice in terms of children and young people’s entitlement (e.g. to the law, services and democratic processes), redistribution (e.g. of rights, duties and resources), recognition (e.g. of culture, difference, capacity) and respect (e.g. of strengths, attributes, abilities).” (Davis et al., 2014) Nancy Fraser understands justice as “…social arrangements that permit all to participate as peers in social life.” (Fraser in Lovell 2007, p.20) In short, social justice is about making sure everyone in society is taken care of and included. This means paying close attention to sites of injustice such as power, poverty, gender, race, sexual orientation, disabilities. Using this understanding, a social justice critique of ACEs involves asking whether the ACEs agenda contributes to socio-economic redistribution, recognition, respect and participation. In this blog I explore some thoughts on this, before concluding that the ACEs agenda contributes little to social justice and could potentially be an unhelpful distraction. I finish by suggesting some alternative ways forward. … Read More

Resilience is a process and opportunity, not something children have or don’t have

dogbod2019, blog

by Professor Ramona Alaggia Studying resilience with children and adults exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) has taken me on a journey that has resulted in a fundamental shift in how I do research, teach and counsel clients. This has been significant in my understanding of adversity, trauma and the profound role of resilience. When I initially encountered the term resilience I approached it with skepticism and questions. Was it a “feel good” term to minimize the fall-out from very big problems in people’s lives? Or a tool used by governments to scale back on service funding using platitudes like kids are resilient; they’ll be fine; they’ll bounce back – which has not been my experience with highly vulnerable children. Fostering resilience is a concerted effort that needs to be intentionally built into programming. Is resilience something people simply have or don’t have with very little in between? Up until recently, the research literature focused largely on individual characteristics for explaining why some people are more resilient than others. These identified characteristics are often related to personality traits – including intelligence, easy temperament, and extroversion for example – traits that appear from birth. Is resilience a state or a trait? … Read More

ResiliencebyDesign Research Innovation Lab

dogbod2019, blog

group sitting on floor

by Dr. Robin Cox, Laura H. V. Wright, Tiffany Hill, Dr. Tamara Plush, Dr. Sarah Fletcher, Nigel Deans In this blog, we hear about the work of ResiliencebyDesign Research Innovation Lab, an interdisciplinary team of researchers committed to using applied, participatory research with young people.  For more information about ResiliencebyDesign, their vision and projects, visit or check out the overview video here (3 min) (This article was also posted on 22 February 2019 at Introduction  “Where we conduct research as a method of moving hearts and minds to generate conversations that matter and lead to action” The interdisciplinary ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) team is committed to applied, participatory research with youth to address the complex and interrelated problems of disasters, climate change, and conflict. Our projects combine capacity building with a range of research methodologies (e.g., arts-based, participatory video, digital storytelling, surveys). We believe in the potential of young people as resilience leaders and change makers. In partnership with youth, we use creative process, innovation and research to explore, connect, and seed new ideas and social change. Our goal is to develop and implement strategies, practices, and policies that improve local, national, and international disaster risk reduction and climate change … Read More

Making Scotland an ACE informed nation: continuing the conversation – an event summary

dogbod2018, blog

by Dr Emma Davidson We began a conversation on ACEs and resilience in December 2017 at the seminar, ‘The Troubling Concept of Resilience’, where Dr Eric Carlin and myself voiced our concerns that the dominant narrative on resilience could obscure inequalities; penalising individuals by making them responsible for their own wellbeing. Since then, we have witnessed the mounting influence of ACE and resilience-focused policy in Scotland. It is now even more important to provide a space in which popular rhetoric on ACEs and resilience can be constructively and respectfully critiqued. Our event on 6th November 2018 aimed to reignite that process. We welcomed three speakers: Dr Amy Chandler, Dr Cara Blaisdell and Laura Wright, each of whom talked from their perspective of their own field of research. Amy’s presentation (which you can watch here) examined the potentially counter-productive ways ACEs are used in research on suicide and self-harm. Early experiences, Amy noted, are undeniably important in shaping later risks of, or experiences with, suicide and self-harm. However, there is a tendency to rely on a mechanical or ‘addictive’ analysis, with a correlation drawn between early adversity and later problems. The work of explaining what these correlations actually mean, or understanding the mechanisms … Read More