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Dr John Cavener

Senior Lecturer

Department: Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

John Cavener

Campus Address

Department of Social Work and Communities
Room H212, Coach Lane Campus East
Newcastle upon Tyne

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Knowledge for Safeguarding Children and Young People  - Missing Children and Child Sexual and Criminal Exploitation  - Sense-making and the Practice of Personal Reflexivity - Trauma-Informed Social Work Education 

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Enhancing Educator by Experience led social work training: Lessons learned from the development of a Teaching Partnership Funded Project, Lonbay, S., Cavener, J., O'Driscoll, S., Chappell, S. 17 Nov 2020, In: Social Work Education
  • Enhancing knowledge and practice of ‘personal reflexivity’ among social work students: A pedagogical strategy informed by Archer’s theory, Cavener, J., Vincent, S. 13 May 2020, In: Social Work Education
  • Enhancing practitioner-led education in social work: developing a secondment project, Cavener, J., Phillips, C., Shenton, F. 2 Apr 2020, In: Social Work Education

PGR Supervision

Lisa Westland A mixed methods study exploring professionals’ perspectives on identifying and reporting child concerns with children growing up with parental substance misuse within affluent families. Start Date: 01/10/2019

Further Information

John is a senior lecturer in social work at Northumbria University and a recognised Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  John is academic lead across a range of under-graduate and post-graduate social work programmes teaching on knowledge for safeguarding practice, safeguarding children and young people in practice, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and missing children. Prior to joining Northumbria University in 2015, John was a senior social work practitioner with Barnardo’s and seconded lead professional for CSE and missing children with Northumberland Children’s Services.   In this role John was responsible at strategic level for assisting Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB) in developing multi-agency policy, practice and action planning for safeguarding missing children and children at risk of CSE.   As a member of NSCBs Vulnerable Adolescent Sub-Committee and Northumberland’s Risk Management Group (RMG), John has assisted social work practitioners in undertaking statutory risk and needs assessment and formulating plans to manage the complex behaviours presented by vulnerable adolescents.  

John qualified as a social worker in 1999 and after a 3-year period employed as a practitioner with Northumberland Children’s Services moved to Barnardo’s.   Between 2002 and 2012, John was employed with Barnardo’s as a practitioner responsible for undertaking direct work with children at risk of CSE.   As a researcher with Barnardo’s, in 2010 John was among the first in the North East region to complete a funded study into the internal trafficking of children for the purpose of sexual exploitation by individuals and groups   As part of Operation Sanctuary in Newcastle, between 2012 and 2014 John worked with Northumbria Police as an agency partner involved in supporting and protecting victims of gang-led CSE.  On completing a PhD in 2017, John has continued to work as a registered social worker in his role as an academic with post-qualified practitioners supporting the education and professional development of social workers situated in statutory safeguarding services. 


  • Social Work PhD May 12 2017
  • Social Work MA June 01 2008
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2016
  • BA (Hons) in Social Work
  • Diploma in Social Work
  • MA (Hons) in Social Work Studies
  • Post Qualifying Award in Child Care Social Work

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