Professor Jo Aldridge


  • Professor of Social Policy and Criminology
  • Director of Research for Social and Policy Studies

Jo Aldridge is Professor of Social Policy and Criminology and Director of Research for Social and Policy Studies. 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 (2018) – Can I tell you about being a young carer - is an illustrated book for children, families and professionals published by Jessica Kingsley.

Jo has served as an elected Fellow of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

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). Her inter- and cross-disciplinary research interests also include sport and social inclusion/exclusion, specifically the ways in which sport can address (and redress) social disadvantage and exclusion.  Jo has recently completed two international research studies: an investigation of 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; and a study (with Dr Cristian Tileaga) of Roma migration to the UK.

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. 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 2020, 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, the Department of Health and Social Care, Health Authorities and Charitable Trusts, including the Big Lottery, StreetGames, Rethink and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Jo’s social policy teaching focuses on children’s and young people’s rights and child sexual exploitation. Her criminology teaching is 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 children’s resilience and rights, women’s movements and feminism as well as research methods, with a particular focus on research ethics and innovative participatory research methods with vulnerable and socially excluded groups.


Current postgraduate research students

  • Chloe Blackwell: "The Cost of Bringing Up An Autistic Child"
  • Rachel Searcey: "Child Sexual Exploitation As A Route Into Street Sex Work"

Recent postgraduate research students

  • Sunida Siwapathomchai (2020) "Parents Negotiations with Children Over New Media Technology in Thailand"
  • Abdul Waheed Mughal (2019) "Investigating The Issue of Out Of School Children In Rural Paksitan: Implications for Policy Makers"
  • Trudi Cameron (2018) "Young Carers of Stroke Survivors"
  • Lisa Holmes (2017) "Exploring Needs, Costs and Outcomes of Services Provided to Vulnerable Children and Their Families"
  • Emily Munro (2015) "Balancing Looked After Children’s Protective, Provisional and Participatory Rights in Research, Policy and Practice"
  • Jane Pitcher (2014) "Diversity in Sexual Labour: An Occupational Study of Indoor Sex Work"