Meet our researchers. 

We are a group of researchers and practitioners trying to find better ways for our child protection systems to work – ways that care and protect children while being respectful of families, culture and community networks. Our base is at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University


Valerie Braithwaite

Valerie Braithwaite is a leading scholar in the field of social capital and regulation. She is a professor of regulatory studies at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University. Her work focuses on the interplay between regulators and regulatees, the governing and the governed, asking the questions: What sort of institutional practices generate defiance and disrespect? What role does social capital, trust and dialogue play in regulatory effectiveness and regulatory failure? She has published extensively on how people deal with power and authority and make sense of government policy in a range of fields including child protection, caregiving, nursing homes, tertiary education, taxation, migration, work health and safety.

Sharynne Hamilton

Sharynne Hamilton

Sharynne Hamilton is a Ngunnawal woman, a PhD Scholar at the Regulatory Institutions Network, and was ANU’s first Indigenous intern, working with Valerie Braithwaite on the Community Capacity Building in Child Protection projects. Sharynne graduated from the Australian National University in 2013 with a first class Honours degree in Political Science and has many years’ experience in family inclusion in child protection practice, is a founding member of the Family Inclusion Network in WA and has been extensively involved working with governments toward the development of Family Inclusion Network’s and parental and family engagement. In 2015-2016, Sharynne is undertaking research with the Banksia Hill FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) project at the Telethon Kids Institute, Perth.

Mary Ivec

Mary Ivec has over 25 years of experience in human services in government and the not-for-profit sector in community development, clinical practice as a mental health social worker and as a lecturer in social work education. For the past seven years, Mary has also been part of a research team at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University, examining the application of restorative justice and responsive regulation in child protection. Mary recently published a review of international and national models of engagement, support and advocacy for parents who have contact with child protection systems.

Nathan Harris

Nathan Harris is a clinical psychologist and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University. Nathan was leader of the Community Capacity Building in Child Protection projects and of an Australian Research Council Linkage research partnership with the ACT government. Nathan has held the positions of lecturer at the University of Cambridge, senior research fellow in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at ANU, has worked in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of Adelaide, and worked within the ACT Government to better understand the regulatory activities of child protection and the opportunities and constraints on case managers and workers. Nathan has also played a major role in the development of restorative justice and responsive regulation in child protection, building on his PhD work on the Canberra Reintegrative Shaming Experiments (RISE) and a postdoctoral fellowship on restorative justice with youth offenders at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

Meredith Edelman

Meredith Edelman is a PhD scholar in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at ANU. Meredith studied law at the University of Southern California before coming to Australia to do her doctorate. Her work experience includes a clerkship with the Honorable Philip R. Martinez of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (El Paso), working as a bankruptcy and corporate restructuring lawyer, working for a legal services organization providing foreclosure and other legal assistance to low income persons in Reno, Nevada, providing pro bono legal services to organizations serving low income communities in Los Angeles, California as well as the United States Federal Public Defenders office in Tucson, Arizona. Before law school, Meredith was a Teach for America corps member and taught bilingual (Spanish and English) pre-kindergarten in Houston, Texas. Meredith’s proposed research will consider the varying responses to allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic clergy through a lens of restorative justice.

Ibolya Losoncz

Ibolya Losoncz is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at ANU, after completing her PhD there in 2014. She also holds an Honour’s degree in psychology from Charles Sturt University (2003). Before commencing her PhD at the ANU, Ibi was a senior research analyst in various public service departments and research institutes, including the Department of Social Services, the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics, and the Australian Institute of Criminology. Ibi’s research explores the space between regulatory authorities and immigrant communities, looking at the processes that give rise to tensions and conflict, particularly in relation to family conflict. Her PhD research focused on the South Sudanese community and the ways in which they saw their progression into mainstream Australian society blocked by government regulations and policy. 

Deb Cleland

Deb Cleland is research assistant to John and Valerie Braithwaite, on the projects Regulation and Social Capital and Peacebuilding Compared, providing qualitative data analysis expertise and research support. In particular, Valerie and Deb are looking at how regulation can improve quality of life and citizen engagement in our democracy.

Combining her background in coral reef ecology and interest in creative research approaches, Deb has also spent much of the last five years designing and developing interactive games for science communication in fisheries for her doctoral research at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU.

Linda Gosnell

Linda Gosnell worked as a senior administrator in the School of Regulation and Global Governance before her retirement. Post-retirement Linda became a member of our research team and was a highly skilled interviewer who established relationships of trust and support with parents who were trying to deal with the child protection system for the very first time. As well as collecting quantitative data in response to an interview schedule, Linda provided a wealth of background information and insightful observations on the experiences and circumstances of parents dealing with child protection workers and expectations.

Kim Williamson

Kim Williamson is the web designer for She is a researcher currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is starting a PhD next year at the University of Melbourne, exploring community-based resilience in disaster response.