About the International Public Health Research Group

The International Public Health Research Group is a multidisciplinary network of researchers, authors, teachers and practitioners. Our connection is our expressed commitment to service user perspectives. Our work connects Members of Parliament, high profile scholars, investigative journalists, service providers and campaigners for service users. Our professional training, experience, and expertise are in medicine, politics, policy development, child protection, psychology, epidemiology, medical journalism, law, social work, sociology and criminology.

The work of the group intersects academic, policy, political, service provision and media dimensions. We coordinated the Service Users’ Joint Statement on Child Protection which influenced policy development by the Government and across the political spectrum. We work with the All Party Group on Abuse Investigations [APGAI] and contributed to the parliamentary conference on Miscarriages of Justice, held by the APGAI. More recently we coordinated The Open Letter on Shaken Baby Syndrome and The Courts, which expresses concern by international experts that the hypothesis of Shaken Baby Syndrome is contributing to miscarriages of justice in the criminal and family jurisdictions.

Much of our work has come to be focused on Child Protection, for two reasons. As we became aware of the role of Child Protection discourses in depriving Health and Social Care Service Users of their ability to access desired services for themselves as adults and for their children, and in coercing them into regimens of ‘captive consumption’, we realised that Child Protection discourses were having an extensive impact on the needs and rights of service users and so we came to focus more on the misuse of Child Protection powers. The evidence grew of a widespread incidence of Miscarriages of Justice in the criminal jurisdiction, in Public Family Law and in Private Family Law, relating to Health and Social Care provision.

Therefore the group is now significantly focused on Miscarriages of Justice in Child Protection. Inaccurate targeting in Child Protection results in cases in which the serious abuse of children is not effectively addressed and cases in which children are wrongly taken into state ‘Care’. The misuse of Child Protection powers in agendas that are harmful to children and disempowering of service-users is disquieting and it now triggers a significant part of our research. We have worked on most of the prominent cases of Miscarriages of Justice in Child Protection that have arisen in the 21st century.

Dr Lauren Devine (Director) and Stephen Parker (Co-Director) established the Interdisciplinary & Expert Evidence Network at the University of the West of England, Bristol to research and investigate the role of expert evidence in miscarriages of justice. The Network has attracted major research funding to investigate child protection and safeguarding processes and is working on the project, The Safer Initiative to support families facing social work assessment.

We connect the significant networks who are working on Miscarriages of Justice in Child Protection in the international arena. However we have also become aware that many of the practices in Child Protection are also being used in relation to adults with disabilities and the elderly and so our work is now also expanding in these areas.

Our critical analysis in support of service users has been well received in the media and in academic citation. For example, Flo Bellone, investigative journalist with RTBF, Belgium’s National Radio, won the European Commission’s Lorenzo Natali Prize for Radio in 2011 for her report: Great Britain: The Stolen Children. Dr Lynne Wrennall’s paper in Clinical Medicine Insights: Pediatrics is one of the ‘most read’ articles and interviews with Dr Wrennall have received accolades on UTube as a Top Rated video in the category of Non-profits & Activism. She debated the Head of the College of Paediatrics on BBC’s Women’s Hour, indicating the group’s central place in debates on Child Protection.

Members are admitted to the group on the basis of two criteria. First, that they have demonstrated a commitment to service user perspectives. Second, that there is evidence of good interpersonal skills, demonstrating an ability to work harmoniously and productively with other people.

Candidates seeking to join the group should contact Dr Lynne Wrennall, The Executive Director on IPHRG@Outlook.com

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