Matthew Gibson

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Contact details

Department of Social Work and Social Care
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Matthew runs the MSc in Advanced Child Protection Studies and researches child protection practice.

Twitter: @imatthewgibson 


  • PhD: The role of self-conscious emotions in child protection practice (2016)PG Dip in Specialist Social Work with Children,
  • Young People, their Families and Carers, University of Birmingham (2009)
  • MA in Social Work, University of Birmingham (2005)


Matthew is a registered social worker and teaches on the postqualifying social work programmes specialising in social work with children, young people, their families and carers as well as the practice education programme. He has worked as a social worker in a number of local authorities in England, specialising in child protection work. He has also gained international social work experience having worked as a social worker in Brunei and New Zealand.

His research interests are in child protection practice and he supervises MA and PhD students in this field. His PhD looked at the role of self-conscious emotions, i.e. pride, shame, guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment, in professional practice.


  • MSc in Advanced Child Protection Studies
  • Certificate in Practice Education
  • Independent Chair’s Module


  • Achieving for Children’s England Innovation Fund Project: Better by Design (2015-2017 )
  • Munro, Turnell, and Murphy and Partnering Local Authorities’ England Innovation Fund Project: Transforming Children’s Services with Signs of Safety Practice at the Centre. Open Source IT Project Development (2015-2016)
  • A Review of Birmingham Safeguarding Children’s Board’s Serious Case Reviews and Learning Lessons Reviews 2009-2014 (2015)  
  • An Evaluation of Gloucestershire County Council’s Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (2014-2015) 
  • An Evaluation of Herefordshire Children’s Wellbeing Directorate’s Risk and Resilience Assessment Tool (2014-2015)
  •  Independent review of a new IT system for Birmingham City Council (2014)

Other activities


Gibson, M. (2016). “Understanding the Emotional Impact of Safeguarding on Professional Practice.” In Building Honest & Effective Relationships with the Communities and People we Serve, Bristol, 11, July 2016. Bristol: Bristol Safeguarding Children’s Board.

Gibson, M. (2016). “Are we educating for the wrong profession? Findings from a field study on how shame and pride are being used to refashion social workers into a new type of professional.” In NOPT Conference 2013, Wolverhampton, 6, July 2016. Wolverhampton: University of Wolverhampton.

Gibson, M. (2016). “Who is knocking at the door? Compliance and authenticity in social work practice.” In Knocking at the Door, Stafford, 17, March 2016. Stafford: Staffordshire County Council.

Gibson, M. (2015). “Which voice of the child? Masks, identities, and the need to belong.” In West Midlands Principal Child and Family Social Workers Conference: Hearing the Voice of the Child, Birmingham, 6, March 2015. Birmingham: IEWM: pp. 1 (Conference Publications; 1).

Gibson, M. (2013). “Shame and Guilt in Child Protection Social Work: New Interpretations and Opportunities for Practice.” In 13th International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Gibson, M. (2013). “Using Narrative Practice to develop struggling students.” In NOPT Conference 2013. Oxford: Ruskin College.

Gibson, M. (2012). “The ‘Sexual Abuse Case’ Survival Guide: Tools for working with families where there has been sexual abuse.” In Practitioner Conference: Tools to Take Home, Birmingham, 10, December 2012. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. pp. 1 (Conference Publications; 2).

Gibson, M. (2012). “Safety planning in high risk child protection cases.” In Practitioner Conference: Contemporary Risk Assessment and the Signs of Safety Approach, Birmingham, 8 May 2012. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. pp. 1 (Conference Publications; 1).

Gibson, M. (2012). “Meaningful partnership: Re-imagining how social work can facilitate sustained change to provide safety in families where there are risks of sexual abuse.” In British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (BASPCAN) 8th Congress: Keeping Children Safe in an Uncertain World: Learning from Evidence and Practice, Belfast, 15-18 April 2012. York: BASPCAN. pp. 125 (Conference Publications; 8).


Gibson, M (2016) Social worker or social administrator? Findings from a qualitative case study of a child protection social work team (2016) Child and Family Social Work, ‘Online First’ Published 23rd November 2016 [Available from DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12335]

Gibson, M. (2016) The role of self-conscious emotions in child protection social work practice: a case study of a local authority safeguarding service. PhD Thesis. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. 

Gibson, M. (2016) Constructing pride, shame, and humiliation as a mechanism of control: a case study of an English local authority child protection service. Children and Youth Services Review, ‘Online First’ Published 17th September 2016.

Gibson, M. (2016) Social Worker Shame: A Scoping Review. British Journal of Social Work, 46: 549-565.

Smithson, R. and Gibson, M. (2016) Less than human: a qualitative study into the experience of parents involved in the child protection system. Child & Family Social Work, ‘Online First’ Published 4th February 2016 [Available from: DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12270].

Gibson, M. (2015) Shame and Guilt in Child Protection Social Work: New Interpretations and Opportunities for Practice. Child & Family Social Work, 20: 333-343.

Gibson, M. (2014) Social Worker Shame in Child and Family Social Work: Inadequacy, Failure, and the Struggle to Practise Humanely. Journal of Social Work Practice, 28(4): 417-431.

Gibson, M. (2014) Narrative practice and the Signs of Safety Approach: Engaging adolescents in building rigorous safety plans. Child Care in Practice, 20(1): 64-80.

Gibson, M. (2012) Narrative Practice and Social Work Education: Using a Narrative Approach in Social Work Practice Education to Develop Struggling Social Work Students. Practice, 24(1): 1-13.

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