Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Dr Gillian Macdonald

Gillian MacDonald


3E 3.2b

Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 4513


Membership of Professional Bodies


Having qualified as a children and families social worker in 2002 Gillian worked in a Duty and Assessment team for the Local Authority in Leicester before commencing a PhD examining family court processes in domestic violence cases at the University of Bristol. 

Gillian’s thesis, Domestic Violence, Children’s Voices and Child Contact: Exploring Cafcass Section 7 Reports, examines how domestic violence and children’s perspectives on violence are represented in reports written for the courts in contested contact and residence cases where domestic violence is an issue.  The research used methods of content analysis and discourse analysis. As a result of this research Gillian has made numerous contributions to national and international academic conferences, research seminars, practioner conferences and forums and government consultations.  She continues to have a strong research interest in child contact, legal proceedings and violence, as well as more broadly around issues of violence against women and children.

Gillian has also undertaken research looking at women’s experiences of the criminal justice system in domestic violence cases in the UK as part of a European Study and was a part of research teams at the University of Bristol looking at adoption matching processes and  research relating to social work children in need assessments. 

Before taking up her post as social work lecturer at the University of Bath in October 2010, Gillian taught on the Social Work Masters programme and the Social Policy and Childhood Studies undergraduate programmes at the University of Bristol from 2005-2010.

Gillian was convener of the British Sociological Association’s (BSA) Violence Against Women Study Group from 2005 to 2011, which included regular contributions to the BSA annual conference.

Research interests

  • Violence against women and children
  • Domestic violence and child contact
  • The inclusion of children’s perspectives in legal decision making
  • Domestic violence and criminal justice systems
  • Media representations of gendered violence and violence against children

Current project - European study of women’s experiences of the criminal justice system in domestic violence cases (WOSAFJUS)


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