Helen was Service Manager at Scottish Refugee Council for ten years, ensuring high quality advice provision to people seeking asylum in Scotland. During this time, Helen was an independent researcher on a Nuffield Foundation study of the treatment of women’s narratives of sexual violence within the UK asylum process. This was led by Dr. Sharon Cowan (University of Edinburgh) and Prof. Vanessa Munro (University of Warwick). Based in the Scottish Highlands since 2012, Helen has undertaken numerous independent research and evaluation projects including work on women refugee’s safety from abuse in the UK (Asylum Support Appeals Project/Refugee Council 2018); the impact of family migration policy in Scotland (SNP Westminster Justice and Home Affairs Group, 2017); a study of effective interventions tackling FGM (Scottish Government, 2014) and evaluations of the Family Keywork and Scottish Refugee Integration Services (Scottish Refugee Council 2016 / 2018). This involved taking a comparative perspective across urban and rural settings, at home in Scotland, across the wider UK, in Europe and in North America.
From 2015-2017, Helen worked as a Research Assistant (now Research Fellow) with Dr. Alison Strang (IGHD), and Elodie Mignard (Scottish Refugee Council) on the evaluation of Scotland’s Holistic Integration Service. The findings of the evaluation informed the refresh of the Scottish Government’s New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugee Integration.
Helen’s priority is making sure that her work reflects the experiences of front-line workers and of the people they seek to assist. Her work recognizes people’s resilience whilst challenging the systemic inequalities that can place them in a vulnerable position within society.
Active research interests:
- Refugee integration
- Refugee social connections
- Gender and forced migration
- Children’s rights.
Family Reunion Integration Service
This research project focusses on the reunion of 900 families who have come to the UK as refugees. This national project will work in eight locations across all four countries within the UK to see how this group of people can be supported to access health, education, housing and welfare services.
The research carried out at Queen Margaret University will develop an innovative app to study how the social connections within, between and outside this group affect integration into the host country.
This project is a partnership with the British Red Cross and Barnardo’s. This project is part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union.