I completed a law degree at the University of Birmingham in 1988, qualifying as a solicitor in 1991. In 2003 I was awarded a M.A. (with distinction) in Childcare Law and Practice by the University of Keele. In 2014 I gained a PhD from Keele in respect of a thesis entitled 'The test of harm in care proceedings: a psycho-social study'. I have presented papers at the Socio-Legal Studies annual conference in Aberdeen and the Society of Legal Scholars (S.L.S.) annual conference in Nottingham. In September 2014, I was shortlisted for the S.L.S. Best Paper Prize for my paper 'A case for a test of 'relational harm' in care proceedings'.

I teach at Keele on the Childcare Law and Practice and Safeguarding Adults Masters programmes. My research interests include care proceedings, psychosocial studies and a humanistic approach to legal criticism.

Research and scholarship

Mothers of children removed under a care order: outcomes and experiences. British Academy/ Leverhulme Small Research Grant SRG 2014-2015 Round.

Paper for Socio-Legal Studies Association Family Law and Policy stream, 'Mothers of children removed under a care order: outcomes and experiences', with Alison Brammer. March 2018. 


Richardson, V. and Brammer, A. 2020 Mothers of children removed under a care order: Outcomes and experiences. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 42:3, 360-376, DOI: 10.1080/09649069.2020.1796223

Richardson, V., Boylan, J. and Brammer, A. (2017) Contact, welfare and children in care: revisiting the significance of birth family relationships after finding significant harm. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law.

Richardson, V (2015) A case for a legal test of relational harm in care proceedings Seen and Heard vol.25 Issue 1 page 43-50.

Richardson, V (2015) Whose Expectations? Care orders:towards a relational approach in the test of reasonable parental care Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law , DOI:10.1080/09649069.2015.1028154. To link to this article

Paper for the Socio Legal Sudies Association Annual Conference, Children's Rights stream, University of Warwick, Ist April 2015. 'Ascertaining children's wishes and feelings about harm: Ascertaing the un-ascertainable?'

Free paper presentation for the BASPCAN Congress Edinburgh University, 13th April 2015. 'The harm denied in care proceedings: a case for a presumption of relational harm' refce 0123.

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