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Beyond a single story: examining the workings, findings and assumptions of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

School of Education and Social Work

About the Project

Jurisdictions across the world are confronted with how best to respond to allegations of historical abuse, many of which emanate from institutional child care settings. Responses are generally couched within a transitional justice framework, identifying human rights breaches, an assumption of trauma on account of these experiences and the identification of means of redress.

Such frameworks may over-simplify the way that the past is constructed and re-constructed and the contexts within which this happens.

Emerging academic work in Canada and parts of Europe begins to problematise the subject. In the UK, child abuse inquiries are currently underway in England and Wales and in Scotland. Co-led by senior academics in social work and law, the aim of this PhD is to examine the workings of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (through, primarily, its recorded documentary findings) and to interrogate the assumptions it makes and the conclusions it draws.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Professor Mark Smith ()
For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK in a relevant discipline.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 5.5 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s English language requirements are available online:


Step 1: Email Professor Mark Smith () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Professor Smith, formal applications can be made via UCAS Postgraduate. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Social Work: Select the start date and study mode (full-time/part-time) agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the ‘provider questions’ section of the application form:
- Write the project title and ‘’ in the ‘if your application is in response to an advertisement’ box;
- Write the lead supervisor’s name and give brief details of your previous contact with them in the ‘previous contact with the University of Dundee’ box.

In the ‘personal statement’ section of the application form, outline your suitability for the project selected.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

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