Professor Carlene Firmin MBE

Professor Carlene Firmin MBE

Professor of Social Work
Durham University

Carlene Firmin is Professor of Social Work at Durham University, and professorial convener of their Sociology Department’s research group on Communities and Social Justice.

Carlene has researched young people’s experiences of community and group-based violence since 2008 and has advocated for comprehensive approaches that keep them safe in public places, schools, and peer groups.

Carlene coined the term Contextual Safeguarding in 2014 to describe a vision for improving safeguarding responses to young people at risk of harm beyond their family homes. She has overseen a research programme to convert this vision into a conceptual and practice framework, in order to reform safeguarding responses and policy frameworks concerned with extra-familial harm in the UK and internationally.

Carlene is co-convener of a special interest group on Social Work and Adolescents for the European Social Work Research Association. She is a Global Ashoka Fellow, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Associate Editor of Child Abuse Review, a member of the Ofsted Insights and Evidence (Social Care) External Reference Group, and also a member of the Churchill Fellowship Advisory Council. She has written in national newspaper The Guardian since 2010 and is widely published in the area of child welfare including through four books and over 50 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters and reports.

In 2011, Carlene became the youngest black woman to receive an MBE for her seminal work on gang-affected young women in the UK.