Dr Deborah Fry

Co-Deputy Director of Research, Knowledge Exchange and Impact (RKEI) / Senior Lecturer in Child Protection


Dr Deborah Fry is a Senior Lecturer in Child Protection at the University of Edinburgh in the Education, Community and Society Institute.  At the University, Deborah undertakes primary research to measure the magnitude, drivers and consequences of violence against children, barriers and enablers to appropriate response systems including in school settings and the effectiveness of existing interventions.  The impact from Deborah's work was recently highlighted in the 2015/16 University of Edinburgh Annual Review.

In 2012, Deborah secured a prestigious  Marie Curie Fellowship to longitudinally  examine the knowledge, attitudes and  perceived self-efficacy of new teachers  in responding to issues of bullying and  safeguarding in the classroom.  In addition, Deborah is the Principal Investigator of a multi-country study exploring the drivers of violence affecting children and is the Principal Investigator for the secondary analysis of the UN Multi-country study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific. 

Deborah also undertakes postgraduate teaching and administration and teaches courses on research methods and child protection research and is Deputy Director of the RKE Office. 

Prior to joining the University, Deborah was Research Director at the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. During her time at the Alliance, she was the Principal Investigator (PI) on nine primary research studies on sexual violence and abuse in New York City ranging from participatory action research with immigrant communities to research with young people.

Deborah has comprehensive experience in researching issues of violence within school settings, developing quantitative research including electronic and ACASI surveys, leading qualitative research, conducting systematic reviews and conducting research with practitioners.

Deborah has a PhD by Research Publications from the University of Edinburgh, a Master of Arts degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, her Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University and her PhD from the University of Edinburgh (by Publication).  Deborah was also a Fulbright Research Scholar from 2001 to 2002 and a Marie Curie Fellow from 2012 to 2015.

Research summary

Deborah's research on Preventing Violence in Childhood involves four main strands: 

  • Safe Inclusive Education
  • Drivers of Violence
  • Burden of Violence
  • Prevention

Project activity

Current and Recently Funded Research includes:

 -Principal Investigator for the ‘Multi-country Study of the Drivers of Violence Against Children in Italy, Peru, Vietnam and Zimbabwe’ funded by the Unicef Office of Research, Innocenti

-Principal Investigator to 'Develop an actionable multi-sectoral strategy to address key social and economic factors leading to child marriage in Jordan' funded by UNICEF Jordan

-Co-Principal Investigator of the ‘Safe Schools for Teens: Preventing Sexual Abuse for Urban Poor Teens in Manlia’ in collaboration with the Child Protection Network of the Philippines, the University of Manila and the Philippines Department of Education funded by the UBS Optimus Foundation

-Principal Investigator of the 'Bi-National Study: Social Norms and Violence in Zimbabwe and Swaziland' and the Zimbabwe Childline Study for Improved Monitoring funded by UNICEF.

-Co-Principal Investigator for the study, 'The Economic Burden of Violence against Children in South Africa' in collaboration with Save the Children South Africa, Univeristy of Cape Town and the China Agriculture Univeristy of Beijing 

-Principal Investigator to explore factors related to parenting for the "Secondary Analysis of the Quantitative Data Set of the UN Multi-Country Study of Men and Violence in the Asia and Pacific" - a quantitative household survey with more than 10,000 men across 9 sites in 6 countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka- and more than 3,000 women across 4 sites in 4 countries- Cambodia, China, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka. 

View all 76 publications on Research Explorer