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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Sociology Department Staff

Professor Simon Hackett, BA (Hons), MA (Econ), CQSW, DCTHE, PhD

Professor in the Department of Sociology

How to contact me

  • My phone number in the Executive Office: +44 191 334 6048
  • My phone number in my SASS office: +44 191 334 1472
  • Email:
  • Follow me on twitter: @simonjhackett


Current post

I am the Associate Provost at Durham University and Professor of Child Abuse and Neglect in the Department of Sociology.

As the Associate Provost, I support the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost in the delivery of the University’s Academic Strategy. My remit includes recruitment, progression and promotion of academic staff, departmental and college planning, and equality, diversity and inclusion across the University.

In the Department of Sociology, I teach primarily on the MSW and criminology programmes. I also have a group of research students under my supervision on areas of my research (see below).

I am Vice Chair of the University's Ethics Advisory Committee and Chair of Durham University's Safeguarding Management Group.

Outside the University, I am involved in a range of activities relating to my areas of specialism.

I am Chair of NOTA, a child protection charity and professional association with branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland. NOTA promotes work with offenders as a way of safeguarding children and preventing sexual abuse. See:

I am Expert Adviser for the NICE Centre for Guidelines.

I was member of the ESRC's Grant Assessment Panel 'B' (until 2015) and was previously research advisor to CAFCASS, the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) and Special Advisor to the Department of Health/ NIMHE Violence and Victims of Violence and Abuse Prevention Programme. Between 2014 and 2018 I was Non-Executive Director of Doncaster Children’s Trust.

Previous posts

As Principal of St Mary's from 2011 to 2019, I was responsible for the overall direction and leadership of the College. St Mary's is one of Durham's oldest colleges and comprises a community of approximately 900 undergraduates and over 100 postgraduates from all disciplines. See the College website at:

Whilst in the role of Principal, between 2013-2016, I was Deputy Head (Research) of the Durham Colleges.

In 2011, I was Deputy Head of Faculty (Research) in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health at Durham. In my Faculty role, I had responsibilities for the management of research across the Faculty and chaired the Faculty Research and Ethics Committees

Between 2008-2011, I was Head of Durham's School of Applied Social Sciences (SASS). As Head of SASS, I had overall responsibility for the running of the School, its degree programmes, research, budget and academic community.

I rejoined the University in September 2006 having been Professor of Child Welfare at the University of Bedfordshire and, before that, Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at Durham. I was previously Tutor at the University of Manchester.

Prior to working in a university setting, I was a practitioner in the child protection field. I was Programme Director and co-founder of G-MAP, one of the UK’s leading organisations working with children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours. I was a Child Protection Officer with the NSPCC in Manchester for seven years and I was part of a team set up to investigate allegations of institutional abuse arising from the North Wales Child Abuse Inquiry. I also worked for several local authorities in both youth justice and child protection teams.

My research

My research relates largely to child maltreatment in its various forms and to professional responses designed to safeguard children’s welfare.

I am involved in the recently established National Centre of Expertise in Child Sexual Abuse, funded by the Home Office and led by Barnardo's. Current funded research projects include an evaluation of the Durham Child Advocacy Centre approach to child sexual abuse, funded by Durham Constabulary and the Home Office.

With Professor John Carpenter of the University of Bristol, I recently completed the largest RCT undertaken to date internationally on interventions for children who have been sexually abused, as part of a research programme funded by NSPCC. 

In 2016, I was funded by NICE to undertake an evidence review, in conjunction with colleagues at Sheffield, on harmful sexual behaviours and I was expert member of the NICE Public Health Advisory Committee which produced national guidance on this topic, see: 

Previous studies include an ESRC funded study (as PI) of the long-term outcomes of professional interventions with children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours which was undertaken with Professor Helen Masson of the University of Huddersfield. My previous research has focused on service provision, policy and user perspectives in relation to the young people involved in the child welfare system. Other completed projects include an evaluation of the impact of interagency training in safeguarding children for the Department for Education.

I am first author of the recently developed NSPCC national operational framework on harmful sexual behaviours which is available at:

For a recent blog discussing this framework, please see:

My educational background

I have studied at the Universities of Hull, Manchester and Durham. My first degree at the University of Hull was in modern languages (French and German). I hold a MA (Econ) in Social Policy and Social Work from the University of Manchester, as well as a Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (CQSW). I hold the Durham Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (DCTHE). My PhD in Social Sciences was completed at the University of Hull on the subject of children and young people who sexually offend.

Collaborations and PhD student enquiries

I am keen to collaborate with other researchers from across the world who share my interests. If you are interested in undertaking a PhD under my supervision, I would be delighted to hear from you directly about your ideas and to discuss opportunities to work with you at Durham. I have extensive supervisory experiences and an outstanding record of PhD completions. I hold the Durham University Excellence in Doctoral Supervision Award.

A list of my current and recently completed PhD supervisees is included below (see section entitled 'supervises'). Their projects are diverse and range from work on child abuse, sexual abuse and sexual offending, children and sexuality, gender, and safeguarding in the UK and internationally.

Research students who have recently successfully completed their PhDs under my supervision include: Dr Josie Phillips on therapeutic relationships; Dr Evgenia Stepanova on children in institutional care in Russia; Dr Sarah Greenhow on adoption; Dr Eric Baumgartner on masculinity and the youth justice system; Dr Lesley Deacon on harmful sexual behaviours in childhood; Dr Beth Casey on child neglect; Dr Chris Jones on adoptive family life; Dr Nashmi Al-Anazi on the physical punishment of children in Saudi Arabia; Dr Lukman Mohamad on child prostitution in Malaysia; Dr Abi Taylor on professional decision making; and, Dr Helen McIlveen on models of sexual health service provision. It is a privilege to have worked with such talented individuals who have made an enormous contribution to their fields.

Read what some previous PhD students say about being supervised by me in SASS

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Authored book

Edited book

  • Calder, M. & Hackett, S. (2013). Assessment in child care. Using and developing frameworks for practice. Second edition. Russell House Publishing.

Chapter in book

  • Hackett, S. (2018). Assessing the needs of children and young people who display harmful sexual behaviours. In The Child's World (Third Edition). Horwath, J. & Platt, D. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Hackett, S. (2017). Researching Child Sexual Assault: Towards a Child Sensitive Methodology. In Research Ethics in Criminology. Dilemmas, Issues and Solutions. Cowburn, M., Gelsthorpe, L. & Wahidin, A. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 133-149.
  • Murphy, M., Ross, K. & Hackett, S. (2017). Sexually Harmful Behaviour in Young People. In Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health: Meeting the Needs of Young Offenders. Bailey, S., Tarbuck, P. & Chitsabesan, P. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 121-134.
  • Hackett, S., Balfe, M., Masson, H. & Phillips, J. (2016). A Study of Long-term Outcomes of Children with Harmful Sexual Behaviours: Using Social Media to Reach and Engage a 'Hard-to-reach' Population. In Innovations in Social Work Research. Using Methods Creatively. Hardwick, L., Smith, R. & Worsley, A. London: Jessica Kingsley. 92-106.
  • Stepanova, E. & Hackett, S. (2016). Improving Institutional Care to Enhance Outcomes for Care Leavers in Russia. In Young People Transitioning from Out-of-Home Care. International Research, Policy and Practice. Mendes, P. & Snow, P. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 367-388.
  • Hackett, S. (2015). Child Protection: International Issues. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition). Wright, J. Elsevier. 423-429.
  • Hackett, S. (2012). The place that theory plays in child protection social work. In Social Work with Children and Families. Davies, M. Palgrave MacMillan. 121-134.
  • Hackett, S. (2010). Children, young people and sexual violence. In Children Behaving Badly: Exploring peer violence between children and young people. Barter, C. & Berridge, D. London: Blackwell Wiley.
  • Hackett, S. & Taylor, A. (2008). School Responses to Children with Harmful Sexual Behaviours. In Safeguarding Children and Schools. Baginsky, M. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Other (Print)


Show all publications

Research Interests

  • Child maltreatment and safeguarding children
  • Children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours
  • Sexual abuse and sexual offending
  • Child development
  • International comparative social welfare
  • Risk and resilience
  • Assessment
  • Therapeutic interventions with children
  • User participation in social welfare
  • Parenting
  • Adoption and out-of-home care

Research Groups

Research Projects

  • Mapping and Exploring Services for Children and Young People who have Sexually Abused
  • An explorationof Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS). What is it? What are its causes? And what are adopters' experiences?
  • Animal and Child Maltreatment
  • Child Advocacy Project
  • Evaluating Inter-professional Training for Safeguarding Children
  • Letting the Future In: helping children and young people overcome the effects of sexual abuse
  • Recidivism, desistence and life course trajectories of young sexual abusers
  • Step Up to Social Work Longitudinal Evaluation

Teaching Areas

  • Child development
  • Child maltreatment
  • Intervention theories, methods and skills
  • Research Methods
  • Risk and resilience


Selected Grants

  • 2016: Durham Child Advocacy Centre: Evaluation (£59951.00 from Durham Constabulary)
  • 2015: Harmful sexual behaviour (HSB): approaches to improve identification and referral of children and young people who display harmful sexual behaviour (£35624.00 from NICE)
  • 2011: Letting the Future In. A national evaluation of NSPCC's new intervention programme for children who have experienced sexual abuse (£82527.00 from NSPCC)
  • 2006: The Outcomes of Interprofessional Training (£6136.00 from DFES)

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Social work: Child abuse and child protection
  • Criminology: Youth crime and juvenile offenders
  • Aggression: Interpersonal violence
  • Aggression: Sex offenders
  • Social work: Adoption and parenting
  • Public policy, health and well-being: Child development and welfare