Office of the PVC Engagement

Research Supervisors

  • Institute of Child Protection Studies PVCE

  • Professor Daryl Higgins

    Professor Daryl Higgins commenced as the Director of the Institute of Child Protection Studies in February 2017. His research focuses on public health approaches to protecting children, and child-safe organisational strategies. A registered psychologist, Prof Higgins has been researching child abuse impacts and prevention, family violence and family functioning for over 20 years.

    Prior to joining ACU, Prof Higgins was the Deputy Director (Research) at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, where he had responsibility for the research program, knowledge translation and exchange functions focusing on issues affecting families in Australia.

    Prof Higgins has extensive experience in managing and supervising research, and has led projects looking at child abuse and neglect, child protection, children in out-of-home care, child-safe organisations, family law and allegations of child abuse, disability and family care, welfare reform, family and interpersonal violence, jobless families, past adoption and forced family separation practices, and community development approaches to child and family welfare issues. He has considerable experience in qualitative and quantitative evaluation methodology and frameworks, and a sound knowledge of state and territory policy and service delivery contexts across Australia.

    Phone : 3607 (Melbourne) Email :

    Research Interests:
    Publich health ; Statutory child protection systems ; Child-safe organisations ; Multi-type maltreatment/polyvictimisation ; Domestic violence ;

  • Professor Morag McArthur

    Sociology and social policy with particular interest in: participatory research and evaluation methodologies, child centred methodologies, child protection, child and family welfare, research with vulnerable children and young people, homelessness, family relationships, drug and alcohol, evaluations of social programs.

    Phone : (02) 6209 1225 (Canberra) Email :

    Research Interests:
    Sociology ; Social Policy ; Child Protection ; Vulnerable Children ; Young People ; Homeless ;

  • Associate Professor Stephanie Taplin

    Stephanie Taplin has qualifications and interests in psychology, criminology and public health. Stephanie has spent much of her research career in the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) field and has in recent years focused on the intersection between AOD and child protection. Stephanie has undertaken research with mothers in opioid pharmacological treatment about their children and involvement with the child protection system, and has recently been looking at the issue of prenatal reporting and child protection interventions. Stephanie is currently a Chief Investigator on three large ARC grants. She has a particular interest in the prevention of substance use and mental health problems, and her focus, over recent years, on child protection has developed from this interest.

    Phone : 1319 (Canberra) Email :

    Research Interests:
    Parental substance use and its impact on children ; Prevention of child maltreatment ; Public health approach in child protection ; Role of the courts in child protection ; Interventions to reduce the impacts of child abuse ; Drug and Alcohol ;

  • Dr Justin Barker

    Dr Justin Barker is an urban anthropologist whose research has examined youth homelessness, homeless fathers, intergenerational drug use, alcohol related violence, normalisation of alcohol and other drug use amongst subcultures of young people, and tobacco management in the community sector. He has been the project manager and lead researcher on numerous research projects that have aimed to directly inform policy and practice.

    Prior to his career as a researcher Justin was a youth worker in Adelaide and Canberra working with homeless young people. This experience led onto his PhD that examined the lives of homeless young people in Canberra, providing ethnographic insights into the conditions of youth homelessness. He has developed and implemented a range of qualitative research methodologies aimed at doing research with young people and vulnerable population groups. Justin has a strong background in social theory which he uses to add meaning and insight into his research and draws on research findings to contribute to social theory.

    Phone : 1226 (Canberra) Email :

    Research Interests:
    Youth Studies ; Young People and Families ; Social Theory ; Ethnography ; Qualitative Research Methodologies ; Homelessness ; Drug and Alcohol ; Urban Anthropology ;

  • Dr Timothy Moore

    Dr Tim Moore has over 20 years of experience working within the child, youth, family and community sectors, working with young carers, children in out-of-home care, young people with disabilities, families affected by homelessness, mental illness and alcohol or other drug issues. Tim has developed significant interest and expertise in the broad field of children's participation. Drawing from his practice experience as a youth worker, Tim has helped design participatory processes, supporting children and young people to actively shape, facilitate, evaluate and lead projects that directly impact on their lives. He has conducted research in the areas of homelessness, young caring, juvenile justice, out of home care and Aboriginal youth. Tim has advised local and national peaks, advocacy bodies and governments on children and young people's participation.

    Tim has a commitment to translating research to practice and maximising the impact of his research work. In 2010, Tim worked with Debbie Noble-Carr and Megan Layton to produce the Kids Central toolkit and training package for services working with children in the homelessness sector.

    In 2012, Tim completed his doctoral studies which provided a group of experienced researchers with the opportunity to reflect on their practice and the practice of research with children in Australia, to consider how they understand children and childhood, and how their research is underpinned and influenced by the assumptions they hold. It asked researchers to consider how factors in the research environment (i.e. funding bodies, ethics committees, the broader academic field) influenced their research practice: the tensions that they have encountered and navigated their way through the often complex and 'messy' world of children's research. It promotes reflexive practice as a way of managing tensions and creating new theories of childhood.

    In addition to his research roles, Tim has been a sessional lecturer in Social Work, Youth Work and Theology. Tim is also an associate of the Thomas Wright Institute, a member of the National People with Disability and Carer Council and is on the Board of Carers Australia.

    Tim is based at ACU's St Patrick's campus in Melbourne.

    Phone : 3664 (Melbourne ) Email :

    Research Interests:
    Child Protection ; Researching with children ; Homelessness ; Carer issues ; Sensitive issues ;