Keynote Speakers 2016

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Ruth Aitken, M.A., M.A., M.Sc is a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She has worked with or on behalf of vulnerable children for more than thirty years and between 1995 and 2001, she established psychological services for children and their mothers at Refuge. She has participated in a number of roundtable meetings and government working groups in relation to domestic violence, she was a member of the Department of Health Task Force on Violence against Women and Children and she has presented oral and written evi-dence to a government select committee on family law. She has carried out research for Refuge and with other partners in the UK and Europe and she has designed and delivered training to a wide range of professionals. Between 2005-2006 she was a weekly visiting lecturer on the M.Sc. ‘Society Violence and Inter-professional Practice’ at City University, St Bartholomew School of Nursing and Midwifery. She has acted as an advisor for the Patrick Stewart PhD programme at Huddersfield University, where she is also an Associate Member of the Centre for Applied Child-hood Studies. Ruth is currently a consultant to Refuge. She also acts as an expert witness in cases involving children, young people and women affected by domestic violence and other trauma, such as human trafficking, torture and war. Ruth has a keen interest in wide range of issues, in-cluding human rights, environmental issues and the ‘non-human rights’ of animals – she recently spent several weeks volunteering at an animal shelter in South East Asia.



Vanessa Bettinson is a Reader in Criminal Law and Justice, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and co-founder of De Montfort University’s Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence Research Network. As a director and trustee of women’s charity New Dawn New Day she is passionate about supporting and understanding appropriate responses to the trauma caused by sexual and domestic violence to and by women. Vanessa’s research focuses on legal and interdisciplinary approaches to domestic violence and/or abuse and she has co-organised several national/international conferences and events that enable stronger networks between practitioners, researchers and students. Vanessa has several publications in variety of esteemed journals and is the co-editor of the book, ‘Domestic Violence: Interdisciplinary perspectives on protection, prevention and intervention’ (Palgrave, 2016).



Professor Anne-Marie McAlinden, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast.
Anne-Marie McAlinden is a Professor in the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast and Head of Research where she teaches modules on Sex Offending, Evidence and Criminal Justice Processes. She is an expert in the area of sexual offending against children and has published widely in the area including on the use of restorative justice with child sexual abuse, comparative penal policies on sex offending, institutional child abuse, and grooming. Her first book, The Shaming of Sexual Offenders: Risk, Retribution and Reintegration (Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2007) was awarded the British Society of Criminology Book Prize 2008 for the best first sole authored monograph published in the discipline in the previous year. Her second sole-authored monograph, ‘Grooming’ and the Sexual Abuse of Children: Institutional, Internet and Familial Dimensions was published in 2012 as part of the prestigious Clarendon Studies in Criminology series by Oxford University Press and drew on empirical research funded by the British Academy. She is currently Principal Investigator (with Prof Shadd Maruna, Rutgers University, and Mark Farmer, NOMS) on an 3 year ESRC funded study on ‘Understanding Sex Offender Desistance’ which involves interviews with over 30 convicted sex offenders who have committed a range of sex offences against children; and Senior Co-Investigator on a further ESRC funded project on ‘Apologies and Abuses and Dealing with the Past’ where one of the case studies is institutional child abuse. Her third sole-authored monograph entitled ‘Children as “Risk”’ which examines peer-based sexual exploitation and abuse will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.