Carlene is listed as a guest speaker for one of our discussions but she does not work at Cumberland Lodge. We cannot share her contact details and it is not always possible for us to pass on contact enquiries to past speakers.

Dr Carlene Firmin is Professor of Social Work at Durham University. Prior to taking up this post Carlene worked as a Principal Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire, where she developed the Contextual Safeguarding programme. Carlene coined the term Contextual Safeguarding in 2014, and in 2016 published the Contextual Safeguarding framework. This framework has been used to advance policy and research concerned with safeguarding adolescents in the UK and internationally, and has led to changes in social care responses to extra-familial abuse in England, Wales and Scotland.

Since 2008 Carlene has researched young people’s experiences of community and group-based violence and advocated for comprehensive approaches that keep them safe in public places, schools and peer groups. She has worked with practitioners across the UK to co-create contextual responses and develop Contextual Safeguarding systems, and in 2020 Carlene set up the international Contextual Safeguarding Academics Network to connect researchers, students and lecturers interested in the topic.

She has written on the issues of safeguarding and violence in the national newspaper, the Guardian, since 2010, and is widely published in the area of child welfare including through two sole-authored books. In 2011 Carlene became the youngest black woman to receive an MBE for her seminal work on gang-affected young women in the UK.