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Children, Young People & The Criminal Justice System – The Role Of The Social Worker With Dr Carlene Cornish From University of East Anglia

14th June 2022 @ 11:15 - 12:15



In this interactive taster lecture, Dr Carlene Cornish, Lecturer in the School of Social Work at UEA, draws attention to complexity and contradiction in the way children and youth are portrayed, socially controlled and treated, particularly in the youth justice sector.

Students will get the opportunity to draw on their existing knowledge of Psychological and Sociological theories and discover how these apply to social work assessments in the criminal justice context. Topics such as the age of criminal responsibility, dualism around childhood, deviance and the purported purpose of court orders will be explored.

To enhance understanding, a case study of a girl, Mia aged 17 years is presented and considerations are given to the nature vs nurture debate. Students are asked to name a psychological theory which could help with the identification of Mia’s needs; which sociological theories would be of relevance; and from a criminological point of view, how would the court sentence address Mia’s behaviour?

Students are provided with explanations about how various psychological and sociological theories are applied in social work assessments in the context of the youth justice system. They will discover the role of the social worker in the youth justice system and the underpinning nature of theoretical frameworks when offending behaviour work is undertaken with young offenders.

Following this activity, the remainder of the session is used to explain how students could become social work students at UEA and the range of quality student social work placements on offer. Course details are shared including details of Bursary funding with the NHS to cover tuition costs. The session will conclude with a current BA student, reflecting on their experience of the course and answer any particular questions students may have.

Lecturer Profile: Dr Carlene Cornish. Originally from South Africa, I have postgraduate and professional qualifications in Social Work, Probation Services and Education. With over twenty years’ social work professional experience, I have acquired significant knowledge and critical understanding of frontline social work. Since my appointment at UEA, I am employed as Director of Admissions and Lecturer in the School of Social Work, teaching on the Social Work and Sociology degrees. I give lectures on the BA and MA Social Work qualifying programmes, as well as continuing professional development (CPD) modules on the MA in Advanced Social Work such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) course, which I lead. I am on Suffolk and Norfolk Teaching Partnership’s (TP) Operational Board and Chair of the TP’s Admissions work stream. I hold a substantial academic leadership role at UEA, Co-Chairing with the Vice-Chancellor on the Taskforce Tackling Racism. My contribution to race equality work extends to my role as Co-Chair of the Academic and Research Working Group, examining institutional data as part of the Race Equality Charter (REC). I am also on the Honorary Degrees and Awards Committee. I am also on the Editorial Board of ARPCE (Association for Research in Post Compulsory Education) and Chair of the ARPCE sub-group, collaborating with leading academics and convening seminars, conferences and peer reviewing international journal articles. I am on the British Association for Social Work (BASW) England Committee.  BASW is an independent professional social work association, which undertakes planning and interventions of social work practice, policy reform, professional standards and research publications.


Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, the session will not be recorded but resources, including the slides, will be shared afterwards where available.



Suitable for: Year 12 and 13 students (and equivalent). This session is relevant for students studying, or with an interest in studying, subjects such as Social Work, Sociology, Psychology, Health & Social Care, Criminology and Law.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: No preparation or pre-reading is required although you may wish to consider the proposed subject area and related questions you might like to ask.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below:



14th June 2022
11:15 - 12:15
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