Dr Claire McLoone-Richards
Dr Claire McLoone-Richards' 40 year journey in education have taken her from a career in mental health nursing to a PhD in Education, for which she has now graduated.
She said: “To embark on a PhD is a truly exciting and rewarding experience. It can be both inspiring and quite challenging. In my case it was all these things, and it was quite a long journey which, at times, tested my resolve and focus. However, it is tremendous to have finally graduated.”
Claire admitted her career path to date had been “by no means straightforward”.
She started her professional working life in mental health nursing in Ireland in the early 1980s, but came to the UK during the recession when many young people left Ireland for better opportunities. Her career and educational development have since flourished. Over the last few decades she has managed a drug and alcohol service in the community, co-ordinated a multi-professional forum to address domestic violence, and studied law and qualified as a barrister in 2006. She also became very involved in local and national service development and research on issues of child protection and violence prevention. She started her research journey as an Early Career Researcher within the School of Education at the University of Worcester in 2008 and subsequently, within the Department of Violence Prevention, based in the University’s School of Psychology.
“These latter experiences really captured my interest and concerns about the practices of professional advocacy in child protection and interventions to safeguard victims of domestic violence,” said Claire. “My interests inspired the specific focus of my PhD which argued for more robust provision for Early Childhood Educator students in developing their professional advocacy skills, to support the rights of children and protect their welfare. I developed an original concept model known as the Child Advocacy Reflective Framework (CARF), which can contribute to the education and training of developing advocacy skills in protecting children to a wide range of child protection professionals.”
Claire completed her PhD by Publication in 2021 (using already published research). “The most wonderful aspect of this experience was that I was publishing and becoming recognised as a worthy scholar within my research and academic community,” said. “I enjoyed my experiences as I was privileged to work with very encouraging and supportive colleagues at the University of Worcester.”
Claire continues to work as a senior lecturer at the University of Worcester, leading the Masters course in Understanding Domestic and Sexual and Violence. She also continues to research in the field of violence prevention and in understanding the impact of violence and abuse. “The work is challenging at times, but I am hopeful that my teaching and research will continue to positively influence and inform our future graduates and practitioners who work with vulnerable children and their families in our communities,” she added.
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