Deborah Fry

Professor, PROF, Personal Chair International Child Protection Research

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Deborah Fry is a Professor of International Child Protection Research at the University of Edinburgh and Director of Data for the Global Data Institute for Child Safety.  At the University, Deborah undertakes primary research to measure the magnitude, drivers and consequences of violence against children, barriers and enablers to appropriate prevention and response systems including in school settings and the effectiveness of existing interventions.  

Dr. Fry leads the data division at the Global Data Institute for Child Safety.  The Data Institute, funded by the Human Dignity Foundation, aims to take a data driven, evidence based approach to understanding the prevalence of child sexual exploitation and abuse across the globe and translating that data into sustainable action that safeguards children.   The mission is to establish a world leading independent institute that gathers, translates and visualises the prevalence of child sexual exploitation and abuse across the world.

The institute is supported by the University of Edinburgh’s scientific expertise, including the End Violence Lab which Dr. Fry co-founded, the Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh Futures Institute, the Data-Driven Innovation Programme and the Global Health Academy.


From 2019 to present, Dr. Fry serves as the academic lead for the University of Edinburgh for a Long-Term Agreement with UNICEF on child protection research, administrative data and training. Dr. Fry leads studies commissioned by UNICEF offices globally on understanding the nature and drivers of violence against children and using this data for evidence-based programming and policy changes and recommendations.

In addition, Dr. Fry was the academic Principal Investigator of a multi-country study exploring the drivers of violence affecting children in collaboration with the UNICEF Office of Research, Innocenti from 2013 to 2018.  And in 2012, Dr. Fry 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. 

Dr. Fry also undertakes postgraduate teaching and administration and teaches courses on research methods and child protection research and is the Deputy Director of Research, Knowledge Exchange and Impact for the Moray House School of Education and Sport at the University of Edinburgh.

Prior to joining the University, Dr. Fry 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 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.  Dr. Fry was also a Fulbright Research Scholar from 2001 to 2002 and a Marie Curie Fellow from 2012 to 2015.



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