Bethan Guilfoyle

Bethan Guilfoyle

Profile

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 rights can be used to combat and overcome disability-related bullying in mainstream primary schools.

Research interests

My ESRC funded Ph.D. will look how human rights principles and norms can be used to overcome issues of disability-related bullying in mainstream primary schools. Undertaking a legal analysis on the recommendations and suggestions of the United Nations Committees on the Rights of the Child and on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will provide criteria against which to assess UK policies and guidance on tackling disability-related bullying in school. This criteria will also be used to analyse anti-bullying policies of primary schools across North Yorkshire to explore whether these policies reflect or resonate with human rights norms, principles and recommendations. Empirical research will then be undertaken within selected primary schools in North Yorkshire to consider the perspectives of the whole school community, especially disabled children themselves, on disability-related bullying. 

The research aims to address the following  key questions: 

  1. How, if at all, has the concept of human rights been used by relevant international human rights bodies and institutions to address bullying of disabled children?
  2. How, if at all, has disability-related bullying been recognised as a human rights issue within relevant academic literature?
  3. Are disability-related anti-bullying policies in primary schools in North Yorkshire informed by or reflect human rights principles?
  4. What practices and attitudes relating to disability-related bullying exist within particular primary schools and how, if at all, are they informed by or reflect human rights principles?
  5. Do disabled children’s perceptions of and reactions to bullying reflect an understanding or absorption of human rights principles?

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 prioritise the issue of bullying of disabled children.

Qualifications

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

Research groups and institutes

  • Disability Law Hub