Dr Lauren Wroe

Research Fellow

Lauren Wroe

I joined the Safer Young Lives Research Centre (formerly the International Centre) as a Research Fellow in September 2018.

I currently work on a number of projects for the Contextual Safeguarding team: a UK-wide project titled ‘Securing Safety: A study into the rate, cost and impact of relocation as a response to extra familial harm’ that is exploring the scale and impact of ‘out of area’ placements of young people who have experienced harm outside of their family home; the delivery of training and teaching for the Contextual Safeguarding programme; editing of the Contextual Safeguarding Network blog; and developing an intersectional, programme-wide study into the implications of multi-agency responses to contextual risk on young people’s rights. I am also a member of the Institute of Applied Social Sciences ‘Forced Migration’ cluster.

I am interested in how discourses and practices of victimisation eclipse structural harms committed against victimised people/s. This began with my doctoral research exploring the dialogical relationship between racialised, hostile discourses and practices toward migrants, the counter-narratives of victimisation they evoke and the dehumanising and de-politicising consequences of such binary accounts. From here, I am interested in the ways that child safeguarding discourses and practices, fastened as they are to individualised constructions of vulnerability and harm, obscure contextual and structural sources of harm to children and young people, galvanising reductive and misdirected accounts of culpability (i.e. parents/(older)young people/’foreigner offenders’).

I am the co-founder of the charity Social Workers Without Borders. A large part of this work is developing social work interventions to facilitate access to services and legal protections for asylum seeking and migrant children and their families. In 2019, alongside Dr Rachel Larkin and Dr Rema Ana Maglajlic, I edited the book ‘Social Work with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants: Theory and Skills for Practice’.

This book is captivating me. It says it is about social work with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, but it is really about social work's heart and soul, about who we are, where we put ourselves, what we work for, who we identify with, it is about social justice”.

[Review by Gerry Nosowska, Chair of BASW]


  • PDip Social Work – University of Salford
  • PhD Psychology – University of Manchester
  • Masters in Research Methods in Psychology (MRes) – University of Manchester
  • BA (Hons) Psychology – University of Manchester
  • Counselling Level 3 – Manchester college

Research Interests

  • Contextual and structural accounts of safety and harm
  • Social justice perspectives in social work
  • Anti-racism and migrant rights


  • Study: Securing Safety: A study into the scale and experience of relocation in response to extra-familial abuse.
  • Contextual Safeguarding Programme: teaching, Contextual Safeguarding blog editor

Supervisory Role

  • I am second supervisor to professional doctorate student Ruth Thomas.


  • Wroe, L.E. (2021), "Young people and “county lines”: a contextual and social account", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-10-2020-0063
  • Wroe, L. E. & Lloyd, J. (2020). 'Watching over or Working with? Understanding Social Work Innovation in Response to Extra-Familial Harm', Social Sciences, 9 (37), 1-17. Download the article [pdf]
  • Firmin, C., Wroe, L. E. & Skidmore, P. (2020) A sigh of relief. A summary of the phase one results from the Securing Safety studyDownload the briefing [pdf]
  • Wroe, L. Ngandu, B. & King, L. (2020). Surmounting the hostile environment: reflections on social work activism without borders. In Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry. S, McGuirk & A. Pine. (eds). Oakland CA: PM Press. Book available here [purchase]
  • Wroe, L., Larkin, R. & Maglajlic, R. A. (2019). Social work with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants: Theory and skills for practice. London: Jessica Kinglsey. Book available here [retail]
  • Wroe, L. (2019). Social Working Without Borders – Challenging privatisation and complicity with the hostile environment, Journal of Critical and Radical Social Work, 7:2, 251-255. Download article here [pdf]
  • Wroe, L. (2019). Contextual Safeguarding and County Lines. Contextual SafeguardingDownload briefing here [pdf]
  • Firmin, C., Wroe, L. & Lloyd, J. (2019). Safeguarding and exploitation - complex, contextual and holistic approaches: Strategic Briefing. Darlington: Research in Practice. Download briefing here [pdf]
  • Wroe, L. E. (2018). ‘It really is about telling people who asylum seekers really are, because we are human like anybody else’: Negotiating victimhood in refugee advocacy work. Discourse & Society, 29(3), 324–343. Download article here [pdf]
  • Wroe, L., Ngandu, B. & King, L. (2018). Positioning Social Workers Without Borders Within Green Social Work: Ethical Considerations for Social Work as Social Justice Work. In Dominelli, L. (Eds) (2018) The Routledge Handbook of Green Social Work. London: Routledge. Book available here [retail]

External Roles

  • Co-founder and trustee Social Workers Without Borders
  • Social Work England – Professional member
  • British Association of Social Workers – Professional member

Contact Details

E: lauren.wroe@beds.ac.uk


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