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Gavin Davidson

Photo of Gavin Davidson
BA (Hons), MA, MSc, MSc, PhD
DipSW, PQ Award, Advanced Award in Social Work
DipCounselling, DipHSSM, PGCHET
Lecturer in Social Work
Room 2.04, 2 College Park East
Ext: 3151; Email:

After qualifying as a social worker in 1995 I worked for 12 years in mental health services, in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, as a CMHT social worker, out of hours ASW, project manager and team leader in assertive outreach and rehabilitation. I moved to Queen’s in July 2008. 


I’m Programme Director for the three-year Bachelor of Social Work Degree and I’m one of the module convenors for the Preparation for Practice Module.  I contribute to teaching in the Introduction to Social Work, Law for Social Workers and Adult Services Modules. 

I’m also pathway co-ordinator for the post-qualifying Mental Health Pathway (the Approved Social Work Programme for Northern Ireland) and contribute to teaching on the post graduate Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme. 

Along with Chaitali Das, I co-ordinate an ongoing programme of teaching and student exchange with the Department of Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences in Münster, Germany.



I’m a member of the following groups and committees:

* Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers’ Mental Health and Learning Disability Group

* Mental Health and Learning Disability Alliance (hosted by the Law Centre (NI)

* Neuroscience and Mental Health Recognised Research Group

* Joint Management Group of the Approved Social Work Programme for Northern Ireland

* Threshold Professional Practices Committee 

* Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s Reference Group for the development of the Mental Capacity (Health, Welfare and Finance) Bill



I’m a member of the Contemporary Social Issues and Policy Research Cluster within the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.  My main research interests are in the area of mental health, specifically: in the deinstitutionalisation process; the effectiveness of mental health services; trauma; the recovery approach; coercion; and mental health legislation.  My PhD study, funded by the HSC Research and Development Office, compared the effectiveness of different models of mental health services for people who are reluctant to engage.



Campbell, J. and Davidson, G. (to be published in March 2012) Post-Qualifying Mental Health Social Work Practice. London: Sage. 

Book Chapter

Kavanagh, D., Daly, M., Harper, M., Davidson, G. and Campbell, J. (to be published in 2012) Mental health service users and carers as researchers: reflections on a qualitative study of citizens’ experiences of compulsory mental health laws. Chapter 9 in Goodson, L. and Phillimore, J. (to be published in 2012) Community research: from theory to method. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Journal articles

Duffy, J., Das, C. and Davidson, G. (accepted for publication) Service user and carer involvement in role plays to assess readiness for practice. Social Work Education.

Davidson, G., Barry, L., Curry, P., Darragh, E., Duffy, J. and Lees, J. (2010) Championing the interface between mental health and child protection: evaluation of a service initiative to improve joint working in Northern Ireland. Child Abuse Review. Article first published online: 7 DEC 2010 DOI: 10.1002/car.1164.

Davidson, G. and Leavey G. (2010) Promoting mental health in Northern Ireland: addressing division, inequality and stigma.  Journal of Public Mental Health 9(4), pp. 6-15.

Davidson, G and Campbell, J (2010) An Audit of Assessment and Reporting by Approved Social Workers (ASWs). British Journal Social Work, 40(5), pp. 1609-1627.

Davidson, G., Devaney, J. and Spratt, T. (2010) The impact of adversity in childhood on outcomes in adulthood: research lessons and limitations. Journal of Social Work, 10(4), pp. 369-390.

Campbell, J. and Davidson, G. (2009) Coercion in the Community: A Situated Approach to the Examination of Ethical Challenges for Mental Health Social Workers. Ethics and Social Welfare, 3(3), pp. 249-263.

Davidson, G., Shannon, C., Mulholland, C. and Campbell, J. (2009) A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of Childhood Trauma on Symptoms and Functioning of People with Severe Mental Health Problems.  Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 10(1), pp. 57-68.  

Kerrigan, K., Davidson, G. and Shannon, C. (2008) Empowerment, Quality of Life and Service Satisfaction: comparisons between hospitalised continuing care patients and deinstitutionalised patients.   Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 25(2), pp.40-45.

Davidson, G. and Campbell, J. (2007) An Examination of the Use of Coercion by Assertive Outreach and Community Mental Health Teams in Northern Ireland. British Journal of Social Work, 37(3), pp.537-555.

Other publications

Davidson, G. and Spiers, N. (2008) A Comprehensive Legislative Framework – The Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability’s proposals for a new law.  Perspectives, BASW(NI) News, Winter 2007/08, pp.15-16.

Davidson, G. (2007) Engagement, workers’ strategies, therapeutic relationships, coercion and outcomes in community mental health services in Northern Ireland (Abstract of presentation at the World Psychiatric Association Conference on Coercion).  BMC Psychiatry 2007, 7(Suppl 1), S53.

Davidson, G., McCallion, M. and Potter, M. (2003) Connecting Mental Health and Human Rights.  Belfast: Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

Davidson, G.  (2002)  ‘Planning Continuing Care Services’ in Social Services Inspectorate (NI) Proceedings of Fifth Social Work in Mental Health Conference.Belfast: SSI.

Davidson, G. (2002) Mental Health Under Review. Professional Social Work, 2002, June, pp.12-13.