Meet the team

We work with experts in social work, youth work, anthropology, psychology, public health and related fields. They're well versed in using participatory approaches to engage with ad promote the views of children.

Daryl Higgins

Professor Daryl Higgins, Director

Professor Daryl Higgins is Director of the Institute of Child Protection Studies. His research focuses on public health approaches to protecting children, and child-safe organisational strategies. A registered psychologist, Prof Higgins has been researching child abuse impacts and prevention, family violence and family functioning for nearly 30 years. Throughout his career he has published numerous articles, papers and reports that have made a significant impact on policy related to child maltreatment, both in Australia and internationally.

View Daryl's profile

Dr Tim Moore

Associate Professor Tim Moore, Deputy Director

Associate Professor Tim Moore is Deputy Director at the Institute of Child Protection Studies. He is an internationally recognised child and youth researcher and children’s rights advocate. His research spans two decades, addressing issues such as homelessness, youth justice, child protection, residential care, young carers, and child sexual abuse prevention. Tim has provided advice to several inquiries and Commissions, including the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and shaped local, national and international initiatives to improve the lives of children, young people and their families.

Tim leads the Institute’s child-inclusive and child-informed research and practice work which aims to strengthen services and systems and making them more responsive to children and young people needs and expectations.

View Tim's profile


Douglas Russell, Senior Research Officer

Douglas started at ICPS in 2017, and is leading research in two key areas: the participation of children and young people in child safe organisations, and the capabilities of staff and volunteers to prevent and respond to organisational child sexual abuse. He is a qualified primary school teacher with 15 years' experience teaching in Australia, the UK and Dubai, and his key focus has always been on the wellbeing of children. Douglas has received confirmation from The University of Melbourne for his PhD studies investigating cognitive development and the relationship between sex hormones and neurocognitive development in adolescence, and the effect puberty blockers have on this.

View Douglas' profile

Jacqui Stewart, Program Manager

Jacqui Stewart is Program Manager with the Institute of Child Protection Studies. She supports the successful delivery of applied research, training, and engagement projects within the Institute. Jacqui specialises in monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL). She has organised, implemented and supervised MEL processes in both government and non-government sectors. Jacqui is passionate about generating quality evidence on program outcomes and promoting data-driven decision making.

Jacqui feels fortunate to have worked for First Nations peoples on a range of research studies designed to have positive wellbeing outcomes for individuals, families and communities. Prior to her research and evaluation career, Jacqui worked as a change management consultant in the corporate sector. This time established her as an accomplished project manager. She also gained extensive experience designing and implementing training in various modalities to facilitate organisational change.

View Jacqui’s profile

Dr Sebastian Trew, Research Officer

Sebastian began working at ICPS in 2018, and is supporting a range of research projects. He was awarded a Doctorate by ACU in 2022 for research into families with lived experience of autism. He also has a Masters in Human Rights from Curtin University. Seb has worked within the out-of-home care sector including residential care, intensive family support, youth housing and homelessness, disability support, academic mentoring, and executive program support.

View Sebastian’s profile

Alex Cahill

Ms Alex Cahill, Research Officer

Alex has over 20 years of experience working in the child protection and out of home care sectors. She has worked in both government and non-government sectors, including homelessness, strategic policy and planning, child and youth engagement and residential care management. Since completing a Masters in Youth Studies with the ACU, Alex’s area of interests is in the connection between youth policy and practice and how best to translate this directly for workers on the ground and the children and young people they work with. She commenced work with the ICPS in September 2017 as a research officer.

View Alex's profile

Maria Battaglia

Maria Battaglia, Communications Officer

Maria is dedicated to promoting the work of ICPS and raising awareness of how to improve child protection, and prevent and respond to the abuse and neglect of children. She creates marketing and communications campaigns that promote the mission of the Institute to advocate for children’s participation, strengthen service systems, inform practice and support child-safe communities. Maria brings extensive experience in stakeholder engagement, brand positioning aligned to corporate strategy, targeted promotional campaigns, social media campaigns, event management, outcomes analysis and reporting, editing, and production of publications (print and digital) at all stages of development.

View Maria's profile

Anna Medvedeva

Anna Medvedeva, Finance and Administration Officer

Anna has over 30 years experience in financial services, specialising in accountancy, financial analysis and project management. She has contributed to the development of budgets for project proposals, overseen budget execution and supported effective delivery of financial management for ICPS.

As Finance and Administration Officer, Anna is responsible for day-to-day management of ICPS finances. She is instrumental in developing and maintaining effective relationships and constructive engagement with internal units, external funding bodies and ACU stakeholders to advise and support in applying administrative and financial processes.

View Anna's profile

Adjunct and associate members


Emeritus Professor Morag McArthur

Morag is the foundation director of ICPS. As a social work academic with over 25 years of teaching and research experience, Morag has worked with Commonwealth, State and Territory Government departments, non-government and community organisations on a wide range of research and evaluation projects. She has taught both undergraduate and post-graduate students research methods, public policy and social theory. She had a key role in designing and implementing the first specialised postgraduate courses in child welfare in Australia.

View Morag's profile


Senior Fellow Dr Aino Suomi

Dr Aino Suomi was appointed Senior Fellow of ACU in 2022. Aino is a clinically trained psychologist and has been conducting research with vulnerable populations, with a family-specific focus, since 2006. She contributed to numerous research projects in her former role as Research Fellow at the Institute, including kContact , an ARC-funded study that developed and trialled an enhanced model of managing and supporting contact between children in care and their birth parents; research on the lived experience of gamblers who seek help while living with gambling-related harms and mental ill health; and gambling harm experienced by children of gamblers. Aino is now Director of the Centre for Gambling Research in the Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University.

Contact Aino


The following students are undertaking postgraduate research at ACU. Their work is being supervised by ICPS staff. Read more about their research interests below.

Lottie Harris

Lottie is undertaking a Doctorate of Philosophy as part of the Australian Child Maltreatment Study, the first Australian study of the prevalence of child maltreatment. Lottie's research focus is on the health impacts of child multi-type maltreatment, and the subsequent best-practice assessments and interventions for children and young people in out-of-home care. This research is expanding on Lottie's professional experience in child welfare, which includes both policy and research and direct practice in the homelessness and out-of-home care sectors within NSW non-government organisations. Professor Daryl Higgins (ICPS Director) is Principal Supervisor and Dr Megan Willis (Faculty of Health Sciences) is Co-Supervisor. 

Contact Lottie

Gabrielle (Gabby) Hunt

Gabby is a registered psychologist and is undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy as part of the Australian Child Maltreatment Study. Gabby's research focus is on organisational risk factors for child sexual abuse in faith-based settings and implementing evidence-based prevention and risk mitigation strategies. Her research and ongoing work is informed by her experience as a psychologist working with survivors of child sexual assault as well as young people engaging in harmful sexual behaviours. Gabby is supervised by Professor Daryl Higgins (ICPS Director) and Dr Megan Willis (Faculty of Health Sciences). 

Contact Gabby

Cassandra Jankovic

Cassandra Jankovic

Cassandra is a provisional psychologist and is undertaking a Master of Psychology (Clinical) at Australian Catholic University. Her research project focuses on better understanding the role of posttraumatic growth (PTG), and which key growth mechanisms play a role in the psychological wellbeing experienced by young adult victim-survivors of child maltreatment. This research extends on her Honours research project which demonstrated that PTG is important to the wellbeing experienced during young adulthood, among those who have endured child maltreatment. Cassandra is passionate about working with young people and understanding the evidence-based practises that can be used to support individuals who have endured child maltreatment to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Cassandra is supervised by Professor Daryl Higgins (ICPS Director) and Dr Megan Willis (Faculty of Health Sciences). 

Ulrike Marwitz

Ulrike is undertaking a Doctorate of Philosophy. She is exploring family violence typology in the context of statutory child protection and how differentiating between types of intimate partner violence could improve practice and outcomes for women and children in the child protection system. Differentiating between coercive control and situational couple violence may require different kinds of intervention and support to reduce violence and increase safety for both adult victims and children. This project uses analysis of child protection practice guides, interviews with child protection practitioners, and analysis of child protection intake reports. A differential approach to these violence types could improve the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in families impacted by domestic violence and involved with statutory child protection systems.

Contact Ulrike

Talk to the team at ICPS

Contact us

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs