Personal profile

Research interests

Risk assessment

Co-production of research and practice 

Mental health

Violence against staff

Youth offending

International Social work

Restorative approaches and conflict resolution

Mental health

child protection

Ethical research

Brian is part of 9 PhD supervisory teams at the University of Hertfordshire (5 as Principal Supervisor), and one in Finland. He has had 5 students who have successful PhD completions, and   undertakes DHRes progression reviews, as well  as final submission examinations (24 to date).

Recent publications  include:

Whistleblowing for Social Workers (2018) A CareKnowledge Special Report to  highlight current issues, professional concerns, legal requirements, sources of support and good practice in the field of whistleblowing.

Lead author (2018)  UK Joint University Council Social Work Research Committee, Research Strategy 2018 – 2028

Slaná, M., Dobríková, P., Stachurová, D., Littlechild, B.  (2018) Quality of Life of Hospitalized and Outpatient Oncological Patients, KONTAKT: Journal of Nursing and Social Sciences related to Health and Illness, 20 (1) pp. 59-64 (

Joint author (2015) National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NIHCE) Guideline: ‘Violence and Aggression:  The short-term management of violent and physically threatening behaviour in mental health, health and community settings’

Barretta-Herman, A., Leung, P., Littlechild, B., Parada, H.  and Wairire, G. H (2014) The changing status and growth of social work education worldwide: Process: findings and implications of the IASSW 2010 census, International Social Work published online 6 October 2014DOI: 10.1177/0020872814547437

Hunt, S., Goddard, C.,  Cooper, J., Littlechild, B., &  Wild, J. (2015)‘If I feel like this, how does the child feel?’ Child protection workers, supervision, management and organisational responses to parental violence, Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community,Published online: 14 Sep 2015: DOI:10.1080/02650533.2015.10731

 Littlechild, B., Hunt, S., Goddard, C.,  Cooper, J., &  Wild, J. (2016)The effects of violence and aggression from parents on child protection workers’ personal, family and professional lives , Sage Open

Littlechild, B.,   (2014) Working with resistant parents in Child Protection: Recognising and Responding to the Risks. In Human rights and Social Equality: Challenges for Social Work: Social Work- Social Development Volume 1, Hessle, S. (ed), Ashgate, Farnham

Noble, C., Strauss, H. and Littlechild, B. (2014) Global Social Work, Sydney University Press, Sydney

Littlechild, B.,   and Lyons, K.  (2014) Social Work Education in England and Wales. In Noble, C., Strauss, H. and Littlechild, B. (2014) Global Social Work, Sydney University Press, Sydney.

Ethics in Qualitative social work research (2014) (in Czech). In Baum, D. (ed) Handbook on Social Work Research, Ostrava University, Czech Republic

Hämäläinen, H., Littlechild, B.,   and Marie Špiláčková (Eds.) (2014)   Social Work Research Across Europe: Methodological Positions and Research Practice (Volume  1),University of Ostrava European Research Institute for Social Work (ERIS) with Albert Publishers.

Hämäläinen, H., Littlechild, B.,   and Marie Špiláčková (Eds.) (2014)   Social Work Research Across Europe: Methodological Positions and Research Practice (Volume  2),University of Ostrava European Research Institute for Social Work (ERIS) with Albert Publishers

Littlechild, B.,  (2015) Violence and aggression against staff in mental health work: Consequences and effective management. In  Callaghan et al., Proceedings of 9th European Congress on Violence in Clinical Psychiatry, pp 96-99, Kavanah, Dwingeloo


Research interests

Brian has a long-standing commitment to the development of research and services in health and social work/social care settings,  professional social work,  violence and aggression in health and social work/social care  settings, and co-production and risk assessment in mental health and children's work.

 Brian has published 46 books/book chapters, 31 refereed articles,  undertaken 23 funded research projects, and presented 54 refereed/invited conference papers including:

  • Violence and child protection work: Collaborative project with Hertfordshire Social Services Department
  • Dealing with conflict in young people’s residential childcare, Hertfordshire County Council, 2005-2007 (NSPCC funded)
  • Co-applicant, successful bid Benefits for Patients funding with Hertfordshire Partnership Trust, Research into the Whole Life Approach, £230,000, 2008
  • Evaluation of Strengthening Families Parenting Programmes, Hertfordshire County Council, 2008-2011 (agency funded)
  • Co-applicant, successful bid for EU Daphne Project, Domestic Violence and Mental Health, 2010
  • Lead applicant, successful bid for EU ERASMUS grant, MSc Recovery and Social Inclusion, 2011
  • With  Community Care journal: the experiences of social work and social care staff of working with aggressive clients.


Teaching specialisms

Brian teaches

  • research methods
  • ethics
  • working with violent and aggressive clients
  • child protection
  • mental health
  • youth offending

on all the University of Hertfordshire’s Masters and Bachelors Social Work programmes, as well as on interprofessional courses

Commercial and public engagement

  • 2007/8 Consultant to the Council of Europe’s Council for Penological Cooperation, Law Reform Department, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs on their Draft European Rules for Juvenile Offenders.
  • 2009/10 Research Consultant to the Council of Europe’s   Social, Health and Family affairs Committee on Social Exclusion, Education, and youth offending (including mental health issues)
  • Brian still practices  in youth offender work.
  • Member of the Hertfordshire Young Homeless Group, a significant provider of a wide variety of services to young people in the private/charitable sector in Hertfordshire, and of social work placements fro students.
  • Undertaking with colleagues around the globe a research survey on the education and training of social workers worldwide with the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW).
  • Treasurer of the UK Association of Professors of Social Work. 
  • Numerous consultancies on dealing with aggressive and resistant clients.
  • 20 research projects for national and local agencies.
  • I was an expert member of the NIHCE Guideline Development Group on violence in Mental Health work (report published 2015) , and am on a Health Foundation Closing the Gap Project on Prospective Hazard Analysis and Human Factors approaches in the NHS. 

Research interests


Lead for successful bid to Skills for Care, Supporting Employers - Adult Social Work CPD and the White Paper project, £40,000, 2013


Co-applicant and  Research Board member, ‘Closing the Gap’ (2014) with  lead partner Hertfordshire Partnership NHS University Foundation Trust  (HPFT) - £450,000   for the national ‘Closing the Gap in Patient Safety’ programme, funded by the Health Foundation, on   patient safety improvement programme within mental health care pathways- ‘Prospective Hazard Analysis and Human Factors approaches in the NHS’.  


I am Deputy Editor  of the European Research Institute
for Social Work Web Journal/Czech and Slovak Journal of Social Work  Board, 2009 - ongoing; Co-chair, Joint University Council Social Work Education Research           Committee; Member,National Institute for Health Research School for Social Care Research Advisory Board; adviser, NICE development group on social care.

I am a member of the International Association of Schools of Social Work’s research and publications committees, and was chair for 8 years of the latter.

I was founding Board member, European Research Institute for Social Work, University of Ostrava, 2004- ongoing (

External positions

Visiting Professor, University Ostrava,Czech Republic

30 Jan 201830 Jan 2023

Expert Adviser, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, England

30 Oct 201630 Sept 2021

Dr Honoris Causa (University of Ostrava)

20 Nov 2015 → …

Vice President, European Research Institute for Social Work

20 Feb 200920 Jan 2025


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