We have an exciting range of keynote speakers from within and outside the child protection field. Each of these will offer a unique perspective on safeguarding children and how we can learn from different disciplines.


Daniel Rhind

Daniel Rhind, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at Brunel University

Dr Daniel Rhind is a Chartered Psychologist and member of the British Psychological Society. He has worked as a Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at Brunel University, London since obtaining his PhD from Loughborough University in 2008. Daniel leads the Brunel International Research Network for Athlete Welfare (BIRNAW). He is a member of the CPSU’s Research Evidence and Advisory Group and is on the Sport Safeguarding Children Initiative Working Group. He was also a member of the BASES Expert Group who developed training on child protection for sport scientists.

Daniel’s research focuses on understanding the development and maintenance of (un)healthy and (in)effective relationships in sport. This relates to all key stakeholders including athletes/players, coaches, referees and parents. This research informs policy and practice to promote the welfare of everyone and safeguard people with additional vulnerability in sport. Daniel’s research has been funded by a range of organisations including the European Commission, Commonwealth Secretariat, Oak Foundation, the Daiwa Foundation, International Inspiration, the Football Association, the Rugby Football Union, the International Tennis Federation and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. His most recent research was the foundation of the recently launched International Safeguards for Children in Sport.


Safeguarding in, around and through sport

The importance of safeguarding children and young people within organizations has been repeatedly demonstrated in a range of recent high profile media stories. These organizations cover a variety of different contexts such as schools, churches, hospitals, and care homes. Although sport can provide significant physical, social and psychological benefits for children, research evidence over the past 20 years has demonstrated that sport can also be a context in which children can be subjected to different forms of abuse.

This presentation will consider safeguarding in, around and through sport. Safeguarding ‘in’ sport concerns the prevalence of the different forms of abuse along with the factors which may make children more vulnerable to abuse. Safeguarding ‘around’ sport will be discussed with reference to research on how mega sports events can impact children. Safeguarding ‘through’ sport concerns how participation can help to safeguard children beyond the context of sport.

Over the past 5 years, a working group has developed and piloted the International Safeguards for Children in Sport. The International Safeguards set out the actions that all organizations working in sport should have in place to ensure children are safe from abuse. The presentation will outline the development, implementation and evaluation of these International Safeguards. The CHILDREN Pillars (i.e., Cultural sensitivity, Holistic, Incentives, Leadership, Dynamic, Resources, Engaging stakeholders and Networks) which have been found to under-pin an effective safeguarding system in sport will then be discussed.



Paul Edmondson

Paul Edmondson, Head of Research and Knowledge, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Paul Edmondson is Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He is the author, co-author, and co-editor of many books and articles about Shakespeare, including: The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography (with Stanley Wells for Cambridge University Press, 2015), Shakespeare’s Creative Legacies (with Peter Holbrook, The Arden Shakespeare, 2016); and Finding Shakespeare’s New Place: an archaeological biography (with Kevin Colls and William Mitchell, Manchester University Press, 2016). His Shakespeare: Ideas in Profile (Profile Books, 2015) is an overview of Shakespeare for the general reader. He has published work on the Sonnets, the musicality of Shakespeare’s words, the poetry of Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare’s influence on the Brontës, and writes theatre and book reviews. He is Chair of the Hosking Houses Trust for women writers, a Trustee of the British Shakespeare Association, an honorary fellow at the University of Birmingham, and a priest in the Church of England. He has lived and worked in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1995.


Shakespeare’s dysfunctional families

King Lear, Hamlet, As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale: Shakespeare consistently bodies forth family life as dysfunctional, broken, often violent. In this key-note address, Paul Edmondson, Head of Research for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, considers some of the portrayals of dysfunctional families in Shakespeare’s plays, relevant aspects of Shakespeare’s own life, and considers why this theme seems especially appropriate to our own times.



Anne Fine. Credit: Carsten Murawski

Anne Fine, Author

Anne Fine is a distinguished writer for both adults and children who has twice won both of Britain’s most coveted awards for children’s literature, the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread (now Costa) Award, along with a Guardian Award, two Smarties/Nestle Awards, and many other national, regional and international prizes. Anne is known for writing, with sensitivity and often with humour, on many serious subjects that affect the lives of young readers. Anne is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been awarded an OBE. Her work has been translated into forty five languages.

Read more about Anne’s background and interests


Pebbles in the fairy tale: what can child protection learn from children’s literature?

Literature has always been the most accessible instrument we have for ethical enquiry and the clearest way to answer Socrates’ great question, “How ought we to live?” But all too often the child’s need for a means to interpret their own experience of childhood is ignored. A young person who cannot bear even to begin to think about his or her own unhappy and stressed situation can often begin, safely, to explore the problems they face through fiction – somebody else’s problem. Anne Fine will show how books can offer shafts of light and comfort to the troubled child, and also foster self-scrutiny – not just in the young reader him or herself, but also in the (often overly self-protective) adults who deal with them.  Anne will show what these fictional avenues of vicarious experience can mean to young readers, what insights they can bring, and what a comfort they can be. She will try to show how the tolerance and understanding offered by particular novels can offer the twenty first century equivalent of the pebbles in the fairy tale, gleaming in the moonlight and showing the way out of the dark forest.



Irene Stevens

Irene Stevens, Independent child care consultant

Dr Irene Stevens was a residential child care worker and manager, and a social care educator from 1984-2000. She then worked at the Scottish Centre of Excellence for Residential Child Care based at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, from 2000-2011, where she carried out training, research and evaluations in residential child care. Since 2011, she has been an independent child care consultant carrying out research and training both nationally and internationally. She has published on the topic of Complexity Theory since 2007 and has presented on the topic of risk and complexity at national and international conferences.

Child protection at the edge of chaos

The protection of children takes place in a dynamic and, at times, fast moving environments. Yet many of the models which are used in risk management and decision making are based on linear assumptions. While this has been challenged, particularly in the Munro Review, there may be resistance to thinking outside the usual linear box. I will present some key ideas from complexity theory and explore how the development of a ‘Complexity Imagination’ among those who work with children can contribute to better outcomes for children and staff. The key concepts among others to be explored and related to child protection are bifurcation, emergence, self-organising criticality, dissipative structures and non-linear conceptualisation of issues.

Complexity theory, by its very nature addresses life at ‘the edge of chaos’ in dynamic systems. This is at the very crux of decision making in practice. In order to protect children, we need to think outside the box. Concepts from Complexity theory can add to the toolkit used by practitioners by raising questions about the nature of risk and how we, as human beings, deal with this. By developing some of the concepts from Complexity theory and exploring how they can be put into practice, staff and organisations may be much better prepared to contribute to the protection of children.