Our Team

The Centre has a ACCP group 444x189committed, award-winning team of staff comprising researchers from a wide range of professional backgrounds. These have included experts in the fields of social work and social policy, psychology, education, Indigenous studies, health, nursing, anthropology and communications.

Our team has also comprised new graduates, PhD and Honours students who have benefitted from working alongside our established researchers and practitioners.

The Centre's disciplinary diversity and extensive collective experience in research, policy development and direct service delivery give us the breadth and depth required to address the complex nature of child abuse and neglect in a wide variety of contexts. We provide real time research that is used in the formulation of policy and practice and out pragmatic approach to knowledge building is designed to assist in supporting families and carers of vulnerable children.

Staff members are actively engaged with peak bodies and State and Commonwealth advisory bodies, and we are regularly invited to participate in major inquiries and reviews of child protection policy and practice across Australia.

Team members

Professor Fiona ArneyProfessor Fiona Arney, Co-Director

Professor Arney’s work is motivated by a desire to see children's lives transformed through evidence based policy, practice and programmes. Over the past two decades she has helped establish the emerging field of child protection research, evaluating innovations in the field, supporting new researchers, and conducting large national programs of research to determine "what works" to support our most precious resource - our children.

Associate Professor Leah BromfieldProfessor Leah Bromfield, Co-Director

One of Australia's foremost child protection researchers, Professor Leah Bromfield is a well-regarded research expert in child protection, and has worked closely with state, national and international governments on establishing and implementing child welfare reforms, including the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children. Leah was the Professorial Fellow to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, established by the Australian government and lead its extensive research program. She won the 2017 Telstra Business Women's Award for Public Sector and Academia.

Dr Kerry Lewig, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Kerry Lewig is a registered psychologist with a Masters in Organisational psychology. She has been with the ACCP since its inception and during that time has managed more than twenty of the Centre's research projects.  She has undertaken a range of program evaluations and researched and published in the areas of research use in child protection practice and policy and in the factors influencing program implementation and dissemination in child and family welfare.  One of her key research interests is the organisational influences on human services worker well-being and in particular the child protection workforce.

Kate GreenfieldKate Greenfield, Development Manager

Kate is currently seconded to the role of Development Manager, supporting the Australian Centre for Child Protection's research directions. She actively contributes to business development and the implementation of the Centre’s research initiatives, both nationally and internationally.
In 2014 she was part of the team awarded the "Teamwork award" for Professional Staff Excellence. In 2010 she was part of a team awarded the Professional Staff Excellence: Research and Innovation Services Capacity Section for "Providing Quality Service".    

Lisa McDonaldLisa McDonald, Development Manager

As Development Manager, Lisa is providing high-level support for the Centre’s research, growth and development. This includes the areas of business development, partnering and collaboration, and marketing and communication.  Lisa has over 20 years of international experience in driving business growth and development, operations management, partnership management and development, and marketing and communications management.  She has worked across a broad range of organisations  in the corporate, not for profit and University sectors.

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Pam Hart, Acting Centre Coordinator

As Centre Coordinator, Pam provides high level executive support to the Centre's Co-Directors to facilitate the Centre’s research and the development and delivery of research projects, research training and education initiatives. Pam is on secondment from the School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy.


Christine Gibson, Community Research Liaison Coordinator

Christine Gibson has extensive experience as a social worker, social work researcher and socio-legal educator, including many years managing research and quality assurance for UnitingCare Burnside in NSW. Since joining the Centre in 2007, she has contributed to a range of activities including a series of projects aimed at helping to improve services for homeless children and families.

Mary SalveronDr Mary Salveron, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Mary Salveron is a Research Fellow with over 10 years experience in the field of child protection specialising in research methodologies with vulnerable children and families, evaluation of child protection systems and implementation. Her research and practice experience spans from reviewing the literature on the diffusion of innovations, engaging parents and families navigating the child protection process/system, parenting groups for parents whose children have been placed in care, working with refugee families, Aboriginal health and family support and facilitators and barriers to reunification/restoration.

As part of her post-doctoral role, Mary undertook an evaluation of the implementation, delivery and uptake of the Signs of Safety approach in Western Australia and its impact on children, parents and practitioners. She is currently involved in evaluations of parenting initiatives and Intensive Family Support Service implementation in South Australia.

Dr JamesJames Herbert Herbert, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Herbert is a social researcher and evaluator focused on the development, implementation, and delivery of effective social programs. In particular his research focuses on the interaction of criminal justice, child protection, and mental health systems in responding to children affected by abuse, and characteristics of successful collaborations across sectors. James was awarded the Early Career Researcher award at the 2016 Academic Excellence Awards.

Sarah Cox.30copyDr Sarah Cox, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Sarah joined the Centre in February 2017 after completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Flinders University in the area of adult anxiety. Sarah’s clinical training during her PhD was predominantly in the area of child protection and complex trauma and through this experience she developed a strong interest in child protection research, particularly in the area of prevention and early intervention for infants, children, and their families. Sarah’s current role at the Centre involves working within the Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD) Desktop  Evaluation team.

Bec BiltonRebecca Bilton Partnership Engagement Manager

Rebecca is the Partnership Engagement Manager for the Early Intervention Research Directorate based at the Australian Centre for Child Protection. Passionate about research and the translation of research outcomes for practical purposes, she is a highly skilled research manager who specialises in increasing research capacity and capabilities; and the management of large local, state-wide and national projects.

Samantha ParkinsonSamantha Parkinson, Research Assistant

 Samantha first joined the Centre in 2011 as a Psychology Honours student before continuing on as a Research Assistant and Project Manager.  She left for 1.5 years to pursue post-graduate studies in England then returned to the Centre as a Research Assistant.  Samantha has been involved in all aspects of research, including project and methodology development; generating successful ethics applications; collecting, analysing and interpreting data; writing reports for both government and non-government organisations and liaising with research partners.

Stewart McDougallStewart McDougall, Research Assistant & PhD Scholar

 Stewart first joined the Centre in 2011 as a Summer Scholarship holder to undertake a systematic literature review on anxiety and social phobia in children in out-of-home care. In 2012, Stewart undertook his Honours project with the Centre and investigated hope, optimism, self-efficacy and resilience as potential buffers between the demands of university study and poor psychological well-being and study engagement. As part of the research team, Stewart provides support to Centre senior research staff and for a number of Centre initiatives.  In 2016, Stewart commenced his PhD under the supervision of Prof Fiona Arney and his research is exploring screening for fetal alchohol specturm disorders in out of home care.

Jenna Meiksans, Research Assistant & PhD scholar

Jenna completed her Honours research with the Centre in 2013. She is currently completing her PhD examining practitioner decision making about the placement of children in out of home care. She works part time as a research assistant, supporting projects including the evaluation of the Winangay Kinship Carer Assessment Tools and the Early Intervention Research Directorate, and recently providing research support to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. 

Olivia OctomanOlivia Octoman, Research Assistant & PhD scholar

Olivia first joined the Centre in 2011 as a Summer Scholarship holder to complete a systematic literature review on evidence-based interventions for sexually problematic behaviour. In 2012, Olivia undertook her Honours project with the Centre, exploring what behaviours foster carers find challenging and what types of support foster carers wanted in assisting them to manage children’s behaviour. As part of the research team, Olivia provided support to Centre senior research staff and for a number of Centre initiatives and assisted in the Final Report for the Royal Commission into   Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. She is currently a PhD student at the Centre under the supervision of Prof Leah Bromfield examining chronic maltreatment and cumulative harm

Samantha Finan

Samantha Finan, Research Assistant 

Samantha first joined the Centre in 2013 as a Psychology Honours student before continuing on as a Research Assistant. She left for 3.5 years to pursue post-graduate studies and is currently completing a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology specialising in children, adolescents and family therapies. Samantha previously worked on projects evaluating child protection practices from the perspectives of children and young people and is currently conducting an evaluation of child protection frameworks both nationally and internationally. 

Ann LilleyAnn Lilley,  Project Officer

Ann provides key assistance for the Centre's research administration activities and is often a first contact for external enquiries at the Centre. Ann works part time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.


Centre students

Rosemaria Flaherty, PhD scholar

Title: Unborn children at risk: who cares?
Rosemaria is under the supervision of Prof Leah Bromfield and she is examining the impact of ante-natal reporting or risk of harm to infants in New South Wales.

Shelley Wright, Completed PhD scholar

Shelley was under the supervision of Prof Fiona Arney, examining the association between children's playfulness at age 4, parental mind mindedness, parental playfulness, parenting style and attachment behaviours. Shelly's doctorate was conferred in March 2016.

The Australian Centre for Child Protection, UniSA, Families and Children Expert Panel Team

The Australian Centre for Child Protection has teamed up with leading experts in child protection research, practice and evaluation to form the Australian Centre for Child Protection, UniSA Families and Children Expert Panel Team. Auspiced by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services, the Expert Panel comprises experts who will support Families and Children service providers in the delivery of robust evidence-based practice, with a focus on early intervention approaches.

Professor Fiona Arney and Professor Leah Bromfield are key members of the team from the Australian Centre for Child Protection. Professor Leonie Segal, University of South Australia, is also a member and provides particular expertise in cost effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis of programs for vulnerable populations. The Centre's  national expert consortia also comprises external members including Professor Sharon Dawe and Dr Tamara Blakemore.

Professor Sharon Dawe

Professor Dawe is a Professor in Clinical Psychology at Griffith University. Her current work focuses on reducing child maltreatment in high-risk families with parental substance abuse and mental illness. She has developed the Parents Under Pressure program in collaboration with Paul H Harnett (University of Queensland). This was trialled extensively in Australia and is currently undergoing evaluation in the UK in collaboration with Warwick University, funded by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. As a member of the Australian Centre for Child Protection's DSS Families and Children Expert Panel team, Prof Dawe provides expertise in the relationship between parenting, substance abuse and child protection, program planning and implementation, evaluation and dissemination.

Dr Tamara BlakemoreDr Tamara Blakemore

Dr Blakemore has a background spanning Social Work practice, policy and research and has worked for the Federal Government. She is also a leading expert in the Longitudinal Study of Australia's Children. She also has extensive knowledge of the outcomes for children who have experienced child sexual abuse. As a member of the Expert Panel team, Dr Blakemore provides expertise in program planning and policy making, implementation, evaluation and dissemination.

For more information, please click here to visit the DSS Families and Children Expert Panel website.

Adjunct members

Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott OAM, Foundation Chair

 Foundation Chair and Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection from 2005-2010 and 2011-2012 (July). Professor Scott is a well-known Australian authority in child welfare and protection. She has conducted numerous reviews and inquiries in Australia in the field of child protection and has served on Ministerial advisory bodies in several States and Territories. In 2011 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Australian National Council on Drugs and in early 2012 completed her work on the Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry.


Dr Sara McLean

A registered psychologist, Dr Sara McLean has been working in child and adolescent mental health since 1997. Sara has expertise regarding the psychological issues associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and the needs of children living in foster and residential care. Sara was recently awarded the inaugural ACU Linacre Fellowship at Oxford University in recognition of her work.

Areas of study and research

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