Centre for Research on Families and Relationships

NETREP Project Update

by Liliana A. Arias-Urueña
Have you thought about having (or not having) children or starting a family? This is the question we discussed with 55 participants interviewed in Scotland, Finland and Portugal in our ongoing research project.

Shruti Chaudhry: CRFR’s new director

Shruti Chaudhry is Chancellor’s Fellow in sociology at the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. She completed her PhD at Edinburgh sociology. Before arriving at Edinburgh, she worked in the field of gender and development in India.

Opportunities for connection and support around self-managed abortion

by Purcell, Newton, Bloomer, Oluseye and Hoggart
Abortion provision in the United Kingdom has undergone significant changes in recent years. 2018 saw permissions in Britain for home use of the second of two medications used in early medication abortion (EMA). And, in 2019, abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland.

Bleeding in the Field: Reflections on Fieldwork and Menstruation

by Chandreyee Goswami
Looking back at my fieldwork, I would have perhaps not felt that dilemma when I had to go out to meet a participant while experiencing excruciating pain, had I been primed to consider the possibility of such situations beforehand. I was not prepared to tackle this ‘problem’ during my research because of the entrenched notion of researchers as able bodies with the ability to align with the institutional level of productivity at a compressed time.

Imagine a Man: thinking about positive masculinity

by Amy Calder and Vicky Ridley
The purpose of the research was to develop and deepen our understanding of the issues affecting boys and young men, learning how they felt about masculinity and growing up and the impact on risk taking. We found a more positive and complex story than we’d expected.

Companionship and family-building in the complex planetary future

by Lisa Howard
What might the future look like in terms of how family and intimate lives are composed? How do cultural expectations of childbearing collide with changing family forms and challenging environmental, social, and economic contexts, and what does this mean for traditional notions of ‘the family’?

Launch of a new Research Network on children’s human rights

by Eloïse Di Gianni
Scotland is making great strides in implementing children’s human rights and human rights more broadly. To maximise the impact of these ground-breaking changes, Scotland’s research community needs to be poised to critique, support and evaluate this implementation.

How do we choose between destitution and exploitation?

by Emily Kenway
When a man drove up to Mark in an expensive car and offered him work, Mark thought it sounded excellent. It was 2009 and he’d fallen on hard times. In fact, he was homeless. The man said he’d pay Mark £50 a day, give him food and somewhere to stay.

The secret pathways of relationality: uncoupling beyond the couple

by Kaveri Qureshi and Zubaida Metlo
‘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

Just the fault of religion?

by Dr Sarah Nelson OBE
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?

How parents organised work and childcare during the pandemic

by Agata Wezyk
For the majority, the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation. It has affected every sphere of life including work, education, leisure, and childcare. Parents have been more likely than non-parents to be furloughed and to have reduced income. Indeed, more than 30% of parents reported reduced income in the first three months of the pandemic, although this ratio had decreased to 17% by December 2020.

The Legacy of Orkney for Child Protection

by Dr Sarah Nelson OBE
Thirty years ago on 27 February at 7 am, police and social workers took nine children from four family homes on South Ronaldsay, Orkney, under Place of Safety Orders. These cited group sexual activity, including “ritualistic music, dancing and dress”. The case, with its “dawn raids,” became a cause celebre – and remains so to this day.…

Looking to capture practices of intimacy in times of social distancing

by Laura Dales and Nora Kottmanne
In Japan, COVID-19-time has been marked by avoidance of “the 3 Cs“: closed spaces, crowds and close-contact situations. The term, selected late last year as the most popular new word of 2020, encapsulates governmental advice, recommended but not legally enforced.…

Children’s hearing system fails to address child sexual exploitation

by Dr Sarah Nelson OBE
Research by Barnardo’s Scotland and the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration considered 44 cases where child sexual exploitation (CSE) was referenced in reports (mostly by police or social work). They also considered 30 more cases where researchers identified the child as a very likely victim.…

Inclusion of parents and LGBTQ youth in teen dating violence research and prevention programs

by Cristina McAllister M.S., Kathleen Rodgers Ph.D. ilary Rose Ph.D., CFLE
In North America, teen dating violence among adolescents is a significant health concern. LGBTQ youth disproportionately experience bullying, peer aggression, suicide and peer harassment. In the United States, 1 in 9 adolescent women and 1 in 12 adolescent males have experienced a form of TDV…

South Asian child sexual abuse – what we need to know

by Vanisha Jassal
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…

A conversation: indigenous knowledges and intersectionality

by Helen Moewaka Barnes and Rosalind Edwards
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…

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

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

In the Shadow of a Pandemic: Harare’s Street Youth Experience COVID-19

by Janine Hunter
The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has had unprecedented impact on all our lives. In Zimbabwe, where two-thirds of the population live in poverty (World Food Programme, 2019), lockdown has exacerbated water and food shortages and seen curfews, roundups and forced removal of young people living on the streets.…

Doing friendship at a distance

by Rachel Benchekroun
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.…

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

by Fiona Shirani
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…

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

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

Family planning DURING COVID-19: A baby ‘bust’, not ‘boom’

by Sasha Loyal
The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to have a significant impact on women’s and couples’ reproductive lives. Social distancing and ‘stay at home’ measures have already seen a significant disruption to fertility treatment, maternity services and access to family planning services, leading to concerns…

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

by Ranjana Das
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…

COVID: Outside Our Door

by Amy Andrada
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…

The vicious circle of familism in housing and care during Covid-19 in Greece

by Dr Myrto Dagkouli Kyriakoglou
COVID-19 impacts all aspects of family life and inter-generational relationships, through housing and informal systems of social care in Greece. In the centre of the political discourse is home and its association with care. ‘Stay safe’ is the wish among people both in personal and work-related communication as well as…

Mothers who allege abuse more likely to lose custody of their children

by Dr Sarah Nelson OBE
To work at length with childhood sexual abuse (CSA) in the UK is to become aware that mothers who voice fears of abuse by the father, after separation or divorce, often find contact with their child reduced or lost. This raises serious child protection concerns.…

Digital by default: the new normal of family life under COVID-19

by Sonia Livingstone
Just a few weeks ago, children went to school, parents worried about their screen time at home, and the digital future was the stuff of science fiction. Under COVID-19, school has gone online, worries about screen time have gone through the roof, and life is fast becoming digital by default.…

The social life of self-harm, in lockdown

by Liv*
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? …

Locking Down or Breaking Up: Newly Cohabitating Couples in the Time of Coronavirus

by Isabel Quattlebaum
The lockdown in the United Kingdom has changed relationships and dating drastically. Gone are the one night stands and the casual hook-ups, and budding relationships have either been put on hold or ramped up to warp-speed. Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer of England, gave some unexpected advice to new couples during a press briefing: move in together…

Stay-at-home measures and domestic violence amid the Covid-19 crisis

by Morena Tartari
Media attention has picked up on the risk of an increase in domestic violence in conditions of lockdown under the Covid-19 emergency. It is obvious that being confined to the home with an abusive partner is likely to have dramatic affects on the everyday life of women in this situation. For obvious reasons, direct evidence of…

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

by Fiona Morrison and Kay Tisdall
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.

Families and relationships amidst the Covid-19 pandemic: Call for blog submissions

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?…

Research with young environmental activists in the UK

by Dena Arya
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…


by Lynn Jamieson, Emma Davidson, Rosalind Edwards, Susie Weller
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…