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Lauren is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Durham University. Since 2009 Lauren has been researching how professional organisations in the UK and internationally seek to create safety for marginalised individuals and those who have experienced violence and abuse. Lauren’s recent projects and publications with the Contextual Safeguarding team have explored: the holistic safety implications of ‘out of area’ placements for adolescents exposed to ‘extra-familial’ risks; the efficacy and ethics of multi-agency safeguarding responses to ‘county lines’ using a contextual and social harm lens; and the role of surveillance and trusted relationships in innovations in children’s social care in response to extra-familial harm and during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lauren is Co-I and research lead on the Contextual Safeguarding Across Borders research project exploring the applicability and feasibility of Contextual Safeguarding in Europe with asylum-seeking adolescents, and Co-PI on The Next Chapter (TNC) project, leading the Building Safety strand. This strand explores how structural inequalities shape young people’s experiences of extra-familial harm, working with multi-agency professionals, young people, families, and communities to identify and address the role statutory services have in building safety or creating risk associated to extra-familial harm. The project will co-design with communities an element of a Contextual Safeguarding response to target structural factors disseminating results to other areas wishing to use Contextual Safeguarding approaches in this way.

Lauren is a registered social worker with practice experience in a range of settings with young people and adults impacted by violence and abuse. Lauren is a co-founder and trustee at the charity Social Workers Without Borders awarded the 2019 Gold Award for championing social work values. Lauren is the editor of Social Work with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants: Theories and Skills for practice published in 2019 by Jessica Kingsley publishers.