Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


Professor Jo Aldridge BA PhD

Photo of Professor Jo Aldridge

Professor of Social Policy and Criminology

Jo Aldridge is Professor of Social Policy and Criminology. She is a Fellow of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE: and A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences ( Jo’s research and teaching focuses on the experiences and needs of vulnerable, marginalised groups, specifically children and young people who provide informal care (young carers), people with mental health problems and learning difficulties and women victims-survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Jo directs the Young Carers Research Group, which is known both in the UK and internationally for its pioneering work with young carers and their families. She has contributed evidence on the needs of vulnerable children and their families to government committees (including Parliamentary Select Committees), think tanks and policy makers, and also conducts service evaluations and training for health and social care service providers, including GPs, social workers and mental health professionals. Her latest book, Participatory Research: Working with Vulnerable Groups in Research and Practice, is published by The Policy Press (February, 2015).

Jo’s social policy research focuses on the experiences and needs of vulnerable and socially excluded groups, including young carers, adults with learning difficulties and serious mental health problems and women victims-survivors of domestic violence and abuse (DVA). She is currently leading an international research study investigating the experiences and needs of children, including children with disabilities, living in Tonga – the first ever national study to include the views of children and young people themselves (see: In 1993, Jo co-founded, and now directs, the Young Carers Research Group (YCRG). The YCRG is known both nationally and internationally for its innovative and pioneering research on young carers and for its influence on health and social care policy and practice in the UK and in other countries. With Kantar Public, Jo conducted the first ever national study of young carers aged 5-17 funded by the Department for Education (for more details about the work of the YCRG use the link below). Jo’s DVA research focuses on the experiences and needs of unsupported women victims-survivors of domestic violence and abuse - an anthology of women’s survivor narratives will be published in 2019, based on Jo’s participatory narrative research project on DVA.


Jo’s externally funded research grants and contracts from Research Councils (Economic and Social Research Council; European Research Council), the Department for Education, Health Authorities and Charitable Trusts, including the Big Lottery, Rethink and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Jo’s social policy teaching focuses on children’s and young people’s rights and child sexual exploitation. Children’s experiences of social exclusion and vulnerability, and adult mental illness and disability are also key areas of Jo’s teaching. Her criminology teaching focuses on women victims, perpetrators and survivors of crime, and sex work and sex industries, underpinned by feminist and feminist criminological theory and perspectives. Jo teaches at postgraduate level on women’s movements and feminism as well as research methods, with a particular focus here on research ethics and innovative participatory research methods with vulnerable and socially excluded groups.


  • Aldridge, J. (2016) Parental Mental Health and Young Carers: Children (and Families) First, Parental Mental Health and Child Welfare Work, Volume 1, Pavilion Annual, 2016, pp. 79-82.
  • Aldridge, J. (2016) “With Us and About Us”: The Value and Efficacy of Participatory Methods in Research with ‘Vulnerable’ or Marginalised Groups, in Handbook of Research Methods in Social Sciences, Liamputtong, P. (Ed), Springer.
  • Aldridge, J. (2015) Participatory Research: Working with Vulnerable Groups in Research and Practice, The Policy Press: Bristol
  • Aldridge, J. (2014) Working with Vulnerable Groups in Social Research: Dilemmas by Default and Design, Qualitative Research, 14 (1), pp. 112-130. 
  • Aldridge, J. (2013) “Identifying the barriers to women’s agency in domestic violence: The tensions between women’s personal experiences and systemic responses”, Social Inclusion, 1 (1), pp 3-12.