Dr Claire Cunnington (she/her)

Department of Sociological Studies

Research Associate

A photo of Claire Cunnington
Profile picture of A photo of Claire Cunnington

Full contact details

Dr Claire Cunnington
Department of Sociological Studies
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

Claire Cunnington joined the Department of Sociological Studies in 2016, having worked in the health, education and charity sectors. She was awarded her PhD in 2020. Her research interests are trauma, creativity and interpersonal violence, with a particular focus on childhood sexual abuse (CSA). 

Research interests
  • Childhood sexual abuse - both current and historical
  • Research ethics
  • Qualitative methods including insider research
  • Trauma informed research and practice
  • Children’s social work
  • Impact

Claire’s research has mainly focussed on interpersonal violence towards adults and children as well as the social work response. Claire is particularly interested in the lived experience of CSA recovery and the professionals supporting that recovery. Her work looks at how recovering can be conceptualised and facilitated. 
She is also fascinated by participatory research methods, co-production and trauma aware research. Recently she worked with NHS stakeholders and people with lived experience to produce a film Flow about disclosing abuse to NHS staff. 


Journal articles

Research group

Member of Sheffield Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Research (SHiVAR)

Member of University of Sheffield Healthy Lifespan Institute (HELSI)

Associate Fellow of the Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters (SHAME) Project, Birkbeck, University of London

2023 University of Sheffield HEIF Funding (multiple language subtitles for film) £15,319
2022 University of Sheffield QR Policy Support fund (film) £71,600
2021 Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network ECR Bursary Award Scheme £73 (conference fees)
2016 Wellcome Trust ‘Society and Ethics Doctoral Studentship’ £83,201
2015 University of Sheffield, Postgraduate Advantage Scheme with Rape Crisis Sheffield £1000
2014 University of Sheffield, Postgraduate Support Scheme £8000
Teaching activities

She is not currently teaching any modules but is available to guest lecture.

Partnerships, engagement and impact

Claire partnered with NHS England and the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (Department of Health), as well as people with lived experience to produce the film ‘Flow’ 

The film has been successfully shared worldwide and is now subtitled in 20 languages. It was selected by both the Birmingham International Film Festival and Women Deliver 2023 Arts and Film Festival as a finalist. It is being used by multiple NGOs and governmental organisations to raise awareness of CSA and the barriers to disclosing it.