Bethan Gifford

Bethan Gifford


I completed my undergraduate degree in Law at the University of Leeds, focusing on how the UK has implemented disabled children's right to inclusive education under article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for my dissertation.

Having a keen interest in international disability law and the wider human rights framework I went on to undertake an internship with Validity (then the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre) in Budapest drafting and reviewing collective complaints to the European Committee on Social Rights, reviewing and compiling reports on jurisprudence of various human rights bodies, prepared background reports to inform draft complaints to various international human rights bodies including the Human Rights Committee as well as national constitutional courts overseas. I further went on to volunteering for an organisation in Burkina Faso, West Africa, which worked with a number of local disabled people's organisations (DPOs) capacity building and awareness raising on disabled people's human rights as well as sexual and reproductive health and inclusive sports. 

Having secured the 1+3 scholarship award from the ESRC, I completed my Masters in 2018 in Social Research (Interdisciplinary), focusing on how the UN Committees on the Rights of the Child and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities deal with the issue of bullying of disabled children within their jurisprudence. This will feed into the Ph.D. that I am currently undertaking which looks at how bullying impacts disabled children's human rights. The Ph.D. will my main focus over the next three years, as well as working with local awareness groups undertaking impact research and awareness raising initiatives.

Research interests

My ESRC funded Ph.D. will look specifically at the impact of bullying on disabled children. On a modernist view, I intend the research undertaken with disabled children to be participatory as far as is practicable to enable disabled children to have an outlet through which their voices can be heard and their opinions on bullying can be disseminated. The research will also consider teachers' perspectives of bullying and anti-bullying and behaviour policies. The research aims to address three key questions:

1. Which human rights can be identified through studies with disabled children as being 'at risk' due to bullying?

2. In what ways is bullying effecting the identified rights?

3. How far to school anti-bullying and behaviour policies uphold disabled children's human rights, both in theory and in practice?

It is hoped the resulting publication will help drive the movement to increase awareness of both disability and bullying within schools and encourage action, at all levels, to priortise the issue of bullying of disabled children.


  • MA Socal Research (Interdisciplinary)
  • Law LL.B

Research groups and institutes

  • Disability Law Hub