DAY SIXTEEN: ‘Why not make darkness my god?’: Writing to Resist 

Bahar Fayeghi Ghadimi introduces us to Massome Jafari’s work and the use of writing and other cultural practices among Afghan women as a form of resistance.

Bahar Fayeghi Ghadimi

Featured image from  

The people in these stories are looking for a place to find the stability they have lost. The migration of people is not always geographical, sometimes this migration (movement) takes place in their minds and within them.

Massome Jafari

Due to four decades of conflict, about five million Afghans have found refuge in the neighboring country of Iran (Amir-Abdollahian, as cited in Gupta, 2022). However, despite these numbers, the underlying policy of the Iranian government has always been to treat Afghans as temporary guests who will return to their country one day. Afghans in Iran have been denied permanent residency and citizenship rights and their freedom of movement is strictly restricted including through the designation of no-go areas, such as cities and counties bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, which prevents Afghans from traveling to, working, and studying in these places. 

Living in a state of limbo is even harder for Afghan women, who face double discrimination. As Afghans, they are treated as inferior and excluded from the Iranian society. As women, they face many forms of gender-based violence by their families, society, and the government. These forces control women’s personal and public lives from their clothing, to their right to education, work, and freedom of movement.

A striking example of institutional violence against women is the fact that the government only issues work permits for Afghan men in specific categories of hard labor which forces women to find illegal employment and accept poor working conditions (e.g.,including long working hours, lack of health insurance, low pay). Furthermore, the patriarchal nature of Iranian society and Afghan families gives male relatives the power to limit women’s participation in society and their access to basic rights.  

Despite all these restrictions, however, women have fought to acquire the necessary skills for improving their lives. Mothers especially have been advocating for the education of their daughters. Thus, second and later-generation Afghan women are well-educated and better equipped to resist marginalisation and oppression. By participating in cultural activities such as writing, poetry, and filmmaking, they can shed light on the obstacles they face, reclaim their identities and demand their rights.   

Writing has become a significant tool for young Afghan women to resist power structures. They often use short stories to voice their grievances and say the unsayable.

Masoome Jafari, a second-generation Afghan born in Iran in 1996, challenges violence against women using creative techniques such as surrealism. Her book Why not make darkness my god? consists of eleven short stories written between 2015 and 2020, where she addresses issues, such as being denied Iranian citizenship, domestic violence and racism within Iranian society. Her characters are brave young women trying to free themselves from the forces that constrain them. Liberation is often achieved by going to the university, working, undertaking artistic activities, moving away from controlling families and migration to a third country.  

In the story “Few months before 1399”, Jafari writes about the struggles of a woman to make a living in a society that does not accept her. At the end, the character discovers masturbation as a form of liberation. The young mother of the story has recently moved to the “town” (which refers to Iran), and works in a tailoring workshop, a common profession amongst Afghans in Iran, to save money and bring her child with her. She is overworked and underpaid by her employer and made to work and sleep in the run-down building of the workshop. She is ignored by her colleagues and denied honey, a source of strength for the people of the “town”. However, she does not give up or stop her search for honey. One day, feeling so hungry and weak, she tries to find honey within herself through masturbation.   

When she completely collected the honey with her finger, she felt that she loved her life more than she could ever imagine, she even loved her employer and her husband. She thought she was not upset with anyone. At that moment, it did not matter to her if the whole workshop caught on fire and went up in the air. The important thing was that she finally found the honey mine and she was no longer hungry (Jafari, 2021, p. 27).  

Jafari’s character displays resistance in many ways. She found employment despite governmental policies that deny women work permits and give employers carte blanche to exploit women’s productive labor. She does not stay silent when Iranians tell her to go back to her country, and instead demands to know why she is not sold honey. Finally, she tries to make her own living despite difficult conditions.  

Jafari channels her resistance through writing, which she uses to raise awareness about the difficulties facing Afghan women in Iran and inside their homes. In fact, honey is a metaphor for many commodities that Afghans in the country can hardly access. Furthermore, telling a surrealist story of a woman’s discovery of sexual pleasure is a way of challenging structural silencing and social taboos, which ultimately make it so hard to talk directly about gender-based violence in all its forms.  


Gupta, K. (2022, May 24). Face to face with a hostile host. Asia Democracy Chronicles.  

Jafari, M. (2021). Why not make darkness my god? Nashr Rowzaneh. 

Author’s Bio 

Bahar Fayeghi Ghadimi is a third year PhD student in the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Edinburgh. Her background in politics and international relations of the Middle East, her experience working with the United Nations in Iran and her interest in gender and refugee studies have led to her current research on the everyday resistance of Afghan women in Iran. Specifically, she focuses on how women combine multiple practices to resist material and ideational domination at the family, societal and governmental levels. You can tweet her @BFayeghi  

DAY FIFTEEN: The experiences of migrant girls in cities 

Anandini Dar centres the experiences of migrant girls in this piece and their exclusion from schools and public spaces, which is “intrinsically enmeshed with the larger patterns of reception of migrants in the city, their living conditions, (im)mobility and freedom from authority, spatio-structural inequality and poverty.”

Anandini Dar

Featured image: “0011 – A TESS-India material using teacher engaging in student centred activity based teaching in her classroom” by TESS-India is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

“School jaane ka mann nahi karta.” 

 (I do not feel like going to school) 

Rinky, 13 years, girl  

This statement, while made in a fleeting way during a conversation by Rinky, a migrant child residing in an urban informal settlement in the south of Delhi, is very telling. It captures the sentiments shared by many other young adolescent girls who experience everyday life through the prism of gender, (im)mobility, and precarity. In India, there is a high rate of internal rural to urban displacement accompanied by migration to cities, with approximately 139 million people migrating from rural to urban centers, as per the latest Census (2011). With statist development agendas deeply linked to plans for urbanization, families migrate to cities in search of better jobs and schooling for their children. Many of these families travel back to their hometowns seasonally, for festivals, important family occasions like weddings and deaths, and as per the agricultural cycles of harvest. But while living in Delhi most families feel displaced, and the lives of their children remain as bleak as the myth of modern schooling.1

Despite the inclusion of migrant children and their issues around education in the NEP 2022, the plan for school retention of migrant children is not sufficient for the kinds of “slow violence” young migrant girl children, in particular, face inside and outside of schools in Delhi. 

 When I was working with migrant families who have arrived from Assam and West Bengal and living in an urban informal settlement in the south of Delhi, I found that girls’ exclusion from educational spaces was not only a problem of the schooling system, but intrinsically enmeshed with the larger patterns of reception of migrants in the city, their living conditions, (im)mobility and freedom from authority, spatio-structural inequality and poverty. Social and physical inclusion is as much, if not more important to ensure that educational and social aspirations of girls and their parents are fulfilled.

Despite enrolment in schools, many of the migrant girls, as they enter adolescence, are sent back to their villages to get married as young as thirteen years old. If girls stay back in cities, they continue to face various forms of exclusion and violence. Young girls face threat to physical harm in public spaces, and their parents fear their safety, as a result of which girls are barred from spending time in large open spaces within their settlements, not allowed to access city streets independently, and are mostly resigned to household chores and care work for younger siblings.

When Rinky articulates that she does not feel like going to school, as shared in the opening account, it is not only because of the challenges that continue to permeate the schooling system, including language barriers to her learning, but also due to the unsafe urban landscape that girls like her traverse on a daily basis.  

However, young migrant girls like Rinky are resilient and very articulate about their needs and aspirations, despite the setbacks to their mobility and education. In discussions with adolescent girls in the settlement, we were able to learn about their challenges and their needs. Through drawings, girls shared that there is no accessible play space for them in their neighborhoods, and oftentimes their most basic desire to play games with friends in the settlement is deterred due to an absence of a designated safe play area. One girl shared that they cannot play in the settlement as groups of men and young boys occupy the open areas and they feel unsafe in those areas and do not get a chance to play with friends. Neighbouring public parks are gated and despite many of their mothers working in the neighboring gated communities, they are not allowed to use the public parks. Girls shared that if there was a designated play area, which included trees, access to drinking water, and a shop where they could purchase play materials, they would feel safe in playing outdoors in their settlement.  

Image copyright: Himanshi & Duha.  

We learned from this process that it is important to listen to girls, as they are not just “becomings”, but agentic beings, with capabilities (Prout & James, 1997), rooted in their socio-cultural and embedded everyday contexts. They are able offer innovative ideas for interventions to improve their own wellbeing. Only through more transformative and inclusive spaces along with practices of co-designing with girls that there is a possibility to fully listen to girls ideas and innovative strategies that can help counter the “slow violence” they experience in their everyday landscapes within the city.  


Balagopalan, S. (2022). Introduction: Modernity, Schooling, and Childhood in India: Trajectories of Exclusion. Children’s Geographies, DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2022.2073196 

Prout, A. & James, A. (1997). A new paradigm for the sociology of childhood? Provinance, promise and problems. In James, A. & Prout A. (Eds.), Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood: Contemporary Issues in the Sociological Study of Childhood (Second Edition). London: Falmer Press. 


This reflection has emerged from the research project “Displacement, Placemaking and Wellbeing in the City.”  The support of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and the two research frameworks of the Global Challenges Research Fund and the EU-India Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities (EqUIP) is gratefully acknowledged. The  project is also grateful to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (Grant Ref ES/R011125/1).  

Author’s Bio

Dr. Anandini Dar is Faculty of Sociology and Education, at Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD), India. She is the founder and co-convener of the Critical Childhoods and Youth Studies Collective (CCYSC), and serves as the advisory board member of The Childism Institute, at the Rutgers University, USA. Dr Dar completed her PhD from the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers. She recently co-edited a Special Issue for the journal Childhood, titled, “Southern Theories and Decolonial Childhood Studies” (2022). She is currently co-editing the International Handbook of Childhood and Global Development, Routledge, UK, and has published articles in encyclopedias and journals such as, the International Journal of Children’s Rights, Childhood, and the Journal of Childhood Studies.  

DAY TWELVE: I Never Ask For It: Building Testimonials to Gender-Based Violence

Over nearly twenty years, Blank Noise has worked with citizens and communities across India and beyond to build testimonials of gender-based violence. Blank Noise rests on the power of feminist collaborations and building feminist solidarities, writes its Founder-Director Jasmeen Patheja in today’s blog.

Jasmeen Patheja

Featured Image: Clothes from the I Never Ask For It campaign. Image credit: Jasmeen Patheja.

An idea has no significance or meaning unless someone makes it their own.

Blank Noise is a growing community of Action Sheroes/ Theyroes/ Heroes: citizens and persons taking the agency to end gender-based violence. Blank Noise was initiated in 2003 in response to the silence surrounding street harassment in India and globally. While for the first decade, Blank Noise worked to bring attention to street harassment, its next phase was an inquiry into the nature of victim blaming. Blame permeates spaces of violence. If blame has been used to justify violence against all identities and spaces, how can we be Action Sheroes everywhere? Not just on the streets, but in our power at home, on campus, at our workplace, on the internet.

In 2003- 2004, since the start of Blank Noise,  I reached out to women around me, to speak with me about their experiences of street harassment. Responses ranged from “it doesn’t happen to me”, “how can you ask me this question – I am not that type of a woman”, to “it happened to me, I was wearing my school uniform and it still happened.”  

The dominant climate back then was ‘good girls’ don’t experience it, don’t name it, and if you do experience it, you ‘asked for it’. Fear and the threat of street harassment was a given and normalised. 

The more I listened, I paid attention to the fact that garments were being recalled and named in testimonials.  I recognised that there was a pattern here in the way we narrated. The noticing became an inquiry. 

Nearly 20 years later, no matter where I go ( urban, rural or internationally) , I still ask the question “Do you remember what you wore when you experienced gender based violence? Is there an unnamed, yet unforgotten memory of discomfort where you remember the clothes? What makes so many of us, across identities and geographies, remember?”

The first 8-10 years of I Never Ask For It was about making the garment a ‘truth’ visible to ourselves and the public we engaged with through the press and media. We were recognising that women in all clothes, women across identities, age, religion or faith experienced it. We learnt to say #INeverAskForIt. 

Participants build the I Never Ask For It project at public sites. Image credit: Jasmeen Patheja.

I Never Ask For It has grown from an idea and campaign to a mission. The 2004 version of I Never Ask For It issued the first call to action inviting survivors of violence to bring or ‘discard’ the clothes they were wearing when they experienced violence.  We moved from the idea of inviting and encouraging survivors to speak to the campaign’s current phase emphasising, “speak if it serves you.”  

I Never Ask For It is a place for memory – to keep our memories safe. It works towards building ten thousand garment testimonials and bringing them to unite at sites of public significance. We share this number because we are motivated by what it would take to build this – the healing it could offer, the feminist solidarities it could initiate.

I Never Ask For It has been built slowly, iteratively, through the years. It has been co-created with feminist alliances and through listening. We ask ‘who is yet to be heard,’ and that drives how we design its path ahead. The practice at Blank Noise is located within socially engaged art practice and movement building.

I Never Ask For It behind the scenes includes workshops, campaigns, research projects, public actions such as ‘Walk Towards Healing’, Listening Circles, public talks and more. It has moved away from its early ‘myth breaking’ and making this truth visible approach to now claiming, “We are done defending. I Never Ask For It”. The garment is merely a witness. It bears memory. It was present at that moment. We believe there is power in bringing the garments together, standing united in solidarity; power in speaking if it serves the speaker. 

We are building testimonials, but who has the capacity to listen? I Never Ask For It is about learning to be a listener. It is an injustice to ask survivors to speak if we do not have the capacity to listen.  I Never Ask For It rests on building our collective capacity to listen. The burden of memory is not mine, or ours alone.

Over the years, I Never Ask For It has been shared at multiple sites including Ars Electronica – Austria (2005), Kitab Mahal (2006), Abrons Art Center (2017) , Ford Foundation Gallery (2018), and is now also at Khoj International Artists Association through their ongoing show called Threading the Horizon.

Watch this powerful video of their work here.

Author’s Bio

Jasmeen Patheja is an artist in public service mobilising towards the right to be defenceless. Patheja has worked to end gender based violence and victim blame for nearly two decades. She founded Blank Noise in 2003, in response to the silence surrounding street harassment.  She mobilises citizens and individuals to take agency in ending sexual and gender-based violence. Patheja designs methodologies (tareeka) to confront fear, fear politics, warnings, and victim blame surrounding sexual assault. Patheja works towards building the capacity to listen to survivors of sexual assault and the capacity to care.

Jasmeen works with multiple forms of media. She is also a photographer. She is a TED and Ashoka Fellow.

DAY TWELVE: Care, fear and mothering in the British asylum accommodation system

“Writing about motherhood in the asylum system, I’ve come to realize, requires thinking about forms of life that survive, resist, and often also thrive in vulnerablizing and harmful spaces; and about the care practices that enable them to do so, even amidst fear” says Júlia Fernandez in this illuminating piece.

Júlia Fernandez

Featured image: Rayan’s accommodation, a small studio flat where she lives with her two children since they were moved to a very isolated area in the outskirts of the city. Rayan is one of Júlia’s participants in this project and the photo was taken by her.

I press Ctrl+F on my keyboard and search for the word ‘care’ throughout the document where I type all my fieldwork notes. The search function returns 120 results, of which more than 50, I quickly realize, belong to the word ‘scared’. Such an altering presence of two additional letters prompts relevant questions when writing about motherhood in the British asylum system. In what ways are ideas and experiences of ‘care’ and being ‘scared’ woven into the same everyday life stories of mothers living in asylum accommodation, and what does it mean to mother along the divides between care and fear?

Eleven months of (still ongoing) ethnographic research on the reproductive experiences of asylum-seeking women residing in temporary accommodation in London have invited me to wonder how ‘care’ and ‘fear’ mobilise different yet interconnected practices and discourses that shape lives -and life-making- in the asylum system. The authors of ‘Revolutionary Mothering’ beautifully capture the care work of mothers as ‘making a hostile world an affirming space for another person’ (2016: 116). 

Writing about motherhood in the asylum system, I’ve come to realize, requires thinking about forms of life that survive, resist, and often also thrive in vulnerablizing and harmful spaces; and about the care practices that enable them to do so, even amidst fear.

What is it like for mothers to care when caring takes place in sites defined by ‘habits opposite to love’ (Gumbs, A, 2016: 12)? How do mothers nurture the life of others in sites that facilitate their very own suffering? And how is gender central to the understanding of how forms of violence fold into the everyday practices of care?

I follow Victoria Canning’s criticism of the structural violence of the British asylum system (2018) and approach asylum accommodation as hostile spaces structured by gendered and racialized forms of control, where the perpetuation of violence, trauma and fear is woven into the ordinary lives of unwanted populations. Canning’s work evidences the further gendered harms inflicted by the structures that contain and control migrants on women who have survived persecution. I try to extend her line of analysis to explore the impacts on mothers who care for their children and others in the precarious and uncertain circumstances of temporary asylum accommodation.

Mothers are moved through or stuck in the asylum accommodation system on a no-choice basis, subjected to forms of surveillance and control, and to the enforcement of material and legal precarity. Thereby, they experience minimized autonomy and safety, and higher levels of dependency and vulnerability that extend gendered and intersectional forms of violence into their everyday lives.

As houses witness processes of feeding, nurturance, love, and the continuous remaking of social relations, they also carry wider political significance. Thus, I argue, as extensions of patriarchal control, asylum accommodation structures and the gendered systems of violence that underpin them act as particular terrains for the emergence of specific forms of relatedness and practices of everyday care and support with which mothers, often as lone parents or as primary caregivers, respond to the violence and brutal care deficit of the system and the fears that this engenders.

María breastfeeding her newborn baby right before they were moved to another room. Her partner was carrying downstairs everything they had. Image credits: Júlia Fernandez

For the mothers I have met through my fieldwork, fear lives in the subtle, lingering agony of protracted waiting times and in the sudden accelerations of forced mobilities. The persistent threat of destitution silences dissent and complaint among mothers, whose phone calls to the charity Migrant Help are imbued with the fear of being dismissed or of being punished for the insolence of being ungrateful. Fear soaks through that meal illicitly cooked in a hotel room with improper appliances and pervades the air like the smoke that activates the alarms. Fear inhabits unopened envelopes containing unintelligible Home Office correspondence, empty Aspen cards at the end of the week, the return of a husband from an unlawful work day that raises public suspicions about illegal employment. Mothers fear raising a baby on their own in a hotel room and being sexually harassed on their way to the communal toilet. They fear unfavourable forced mobilities and disrupted childhoods that unfold through the course of fragmented memories of temporary housing.

For almost a year, I have observed the day-to-day strategies mothers utilise as they figure out how to mother despite being scared of the various deliberate forms of harm that permeate the British asylum system.

Mothers answer the gendered impacts of structural violence that further marginalise, impoverish, and exclude them with mundane, sketchy, creative, improvised acts of making life possible – often imbued with a sense of not-enoughness. Women respond to poor housing conditions by bathing small children and warming up milk bottles in the sink; composing ingenious sleeping arrangements in a limited living space; cooking chicken soup inside a kettle and warming up pizza slices in a secretly sneaked-in-toaster. They respond to the marginalising and individualising mechanisms of the accommodation system by waiting for the staff shift to bring friends and relatives to stay overnight and by participating in forms of relatedness across sites of temporary accommodation that support them and allow them to care for others. Their acts of care include boundless hugs and kisses to their children and other mother’s children; donating second hand clothes, buggies, and cots to their neighbours; doing hospital visits and helping with childcare; building a den with blankets and pillows and baking a birthday cake for their friend’s child.

The circumstances in which these acts of care take place bestow their mundanity with an extraordinary character that pushes back against gendered systems of violence and nurture the life of others beyond the limits of their fears.

Canning, V. (2017): Gendered Harm and Structural Violence in the British Asylum System.  Routledge Studies in Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship. London: Routledge.

Gumbs, A., Martens, C. and Williams, M. (2016): Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. PM Press.

Author’s Bio

Júlia Fernandez is a PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, currently conducting ethnographic research on reproductive experiences among asylum seeking women in London. Her research aims to capture the complex everyday experiences of mothers within the British immigration and asylum system, seeking to understand how the conditions of transiency, insecurity and temporality result not only in particular modalities of mobility but also articulate specific reproductive experiences and subjectivities “on the move’’. Júlia also volunteers as a doula supporting asylum seeking women during pregnancy and childbirth and has social care background working with migrant women experiencing gender-based violence.

DAY NINE: Missing Girls: Displacement, Disconnection and Criminalisation 

In this powerful piece, the authors reflect on missing women, seen as ‘runaways’ in Australia. These women’s experiences and the reasons for running away, are not questioned at all and seen as offenders who leave home as an act of rebellion in the first place. When they are found, it is usually because they have been in contact with the criminal justice system, which further disrupts their access to welfare and their community through incarceration.

Phillipa Evans, Peita Richards, BJ Newton and Maree Higgins

Featured image: shoe on train tracks, reproduced from iStock

Gendered research into contact with the criminal justice system overwhelmingly focuses on contextual vulnerabilities, life experiences, and the issue of recidivism versus rehabilitation for male offenders. Yet in Australia, statistics show that the number of women in contact with the criminal justice system is increasing. Between 2009–2019, the prevalence of women detained in correctional facilities rose by 49%, and the number of women in contact with the criminal justice system for violence-related offences increased from 38% to 46% between 2016-2017. Concerningly, many women in prison have experienced gender-based violence throughout their lives and are at increased risk of ongoing victimisation once they are released from custody. Despite this, research into female offenders, and how they have come to enter the criminal justice system, is still largely overlooked.  

Research has identified that girls and young women are more likely to come in contact with the criminal justice system after being reported missing, or ‘running away’. Studies in the United States confirm that as little as one-fifth of missing girls are reported to authorities, and Australia records an average of 38,000 missing persons each year.

So, we pose the question: where are the missing girls?  

We know that between 40–60% of missing persons are aged 13–17 years at the time of reporting. Previous research has found that girls are more likely to have contact with the criminal justice system after they are reported missing or classified as ‘runaways’ from Out-Of-Home Care, in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls are over-represented.

What we seek to know is: why are these girls only ‘found’ through contact with the criminal justice system? 

Displacement from family, community, and culture are significant factors when considering the experiences of, and decisions made by, missing girls. For these girls – often classified as ‘runaways’ – the period of time in which they are classified as ‘missing’ is fraught with challenges and fragmented service provision and engagement. Exposure to high-risk situations, such as homelessness, substance use, and exploitative sex work heightens their vulnerability. Engagement with service agencies may be sporadic or non-existent until after initial contact with the criminal justice system is made, further exacerbating displacement and disconnection.  

The term ‘runaway’ conjures up a mix of emotions regarding young women, often leading to stereotyping that their behaviour is an act of rebelliousness, or that they have a clear choice to leave home. The reason that girls run away is complex and may be due to reasons including child sexual abuse and family and domestic violence. When a girl runs away and cannot be located, she is classified as a missing person. However, when she re-emerges or is ‘found’ through contact with the criminal justice system, this welfare approach is disrupted. 

In these cases, girls and young women are instead labelled as ‘offenders’, and their displacement from family, community and culture is often reproduced through incarceration. Their lived experiences in those missing years are often ignored or treated as a mere afterthought during sentencing.   

It may be that the very nature of being classified as missing is more criminalising for girls than it is for boys with similar early life experiences, potentially including removal from the family of origin and placement in Out-Of-Home Care. The complexities of lived experience for girls and young women who go missing have significant implications for both their safety and well-being over the short and long term.

 Specifically, there is heightened concern about girls and young women with lived experience of sexual abuse and/or neglect being further exploited during the years in which they are formally missing. Of particular concern is their exposure to broader social challenges, such as homelessness, drug use, targeted sexual exploitation, and accidental deaths.  

There is uncertainty about how government and non-government service providers are best able to respond to these girls and young women, both after they appear in the criminal justice system, and through interventions that will prevent the commencement of offending in the first instance. Understanding missing girls’ experiences, including the impact of displacement and contextual vulnerability such as experiences of gender-based violence, will drive better outcomes and enable more meaningful engagement with partners, families, communities, and women themselves.  

Authors’ Bios 

Dr Phillipa Evans is the Chief Investigator on the ARC linkage grant – Missing Girls: From childhood runaways to criminalised women. A Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at UNSW, Phillipa worked for over 18 years as a social worker in clinical, policy and academic roles across a variety of contexts including youth justice, child protection, and mental health. Phillipa is also currently working on an ARC linkage grant examining the effectiveness of a training and coaching program for youth justice custodial staff. This study aims to increase the interpersonal and behaviour management skills of youth justice staff through specialist training, coaching and supervision. 

Peita Richards is a social psychologist with an interdisciplinary academic history across justice studies, politics, and law. Having recently completed her PhD, Peita joined the School of Social Sciences at UNSW as the Research Associate for the ARC linkage grant – Missing Girls: From childhood runaways to criminalised women. A proud Wiradjuri woman, and former political analyst, Peita is dedicated to solution-based research. You can tweet her @peitalr  

Dr BJ Newton is a proud Wiradjuri woman and Scientia Senior Research Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney. BJ’s research focuses on working in partnership with Aboriginal organisations to build evidence and support Aboriginal families interfacing with child protection systems. Her current research, Bring them home, keep them home, is the first of its kind to investigate the rates, outcomes and experiences of successful and sustainable restoration for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care. 

Dr Maree Higgins is a Senior Lecturer and convenor of the Social Work Honours Program and UNSW. Maree undertakes research on human rights priorities of people from refugee backgrounds, those with disability, older people, and missing girls. She is an Associate of the Australian Institute of Human Rights and is affiliated with the Forced Migration Research Network, the Kaldor Centre, and the Gendered Violence Research Network. You can tweet her @MareeHiggins