Curriculum Vitae

Dr Peter Dale


Please note that all other, older email addresses are now obsolete.

Academic and Professional Qualifications

  • 1971-1974: BA (Hons) Social Science
  • 1976-1977: Post-Graduate Diploma in Psychiatric Social Work (CQSW)
  • 1989-1991: Post-Graduate Diploma in Counselling.
  • 1991-1996: Ph.D. (Counselling, Psychotherapy & Child Protection).
  • 1999-2000: Certificate in Management Studies.

Expert Witness Risk/Parenting/Family Assessments in Family Proceedings

Throughout my career I have had a direct, supervisory, consultative or audit/evaluation role in over 750 serious child abuse assessments. Since 2002 I have undertaken many independent  risk/parenting/family assessments (commissioned on behalf of Guardians. local authorities and parents), written reports and given evidence in a range of child protection and child- contact cases in the High Court and County Courts in England and Northern Ireland. My particular clinical and research speciality is assessment of families where there have been serious suspicious injuries to infants (see publications page for my writing on this topic).

I undertake risk/parenting/family assessments on the basis of my academic/research qualifications (PhD and publications) and my therapeutic qualifications and experience (not as an independent social worker). I have had prior authority for my normal fees agreed by the LSC (in post October 2011 cases) on the basis of complexity of the case and the need for a particularly experienced expert.

My main areas of assessment practice include:

  • Independent risk, parenting and family assessments in public law proceedings (e.g. care proceedings)
  • Independent family assessments of kinship care proposals in the context of care proceedings
  • Assessment of appropriate post-placement family contact arrangements when children have been placed in substitute care
  • Independent family assessments in private law proceedings (e.g. residence and contact disputes) utilising a mediating family therapy approach
  • Provision of ‘follow-up’ therapeutic interventions (and continuing assessment) in reunification and contact programmes

For current fee structure and availability please phone: (01424) 424504 or 07903 523 877 (mobile)

Professional qualifications and experience

  • Diploma in Psychiatric Social Work/CQSW (qualified in 1977, University of Manchester, Department of Psychiatry). I have worked continuously in the field of child care (particularly child protection) since 1976. Practice settings include child & family psychiatric clinics; social services departments; Guardian-ad-Litem; and 22 years with the NSPCC (as practitioner, manager and Senior Research Officer).
  • I established, managed and latterly provided consultancy to the NSPCC East Sussex Independent Assessment Service which operated from 1986 to 2000. This service provided independent assessments in over 300 complex child protection cases (Dale & Fellows, 1999).
  • I have been a member of two Area Child Protection Committees (one for 15 years), and have participated in many Serious Case Reviews.
  • Diploma in Counselling (1991) and BAC Accredited Counsellor (1991-1999). I continue to run a private counselling and supervisory practice. In 1987 I established and managed the on-going NSPCC East Sussex counselling service for adults who were abused as children.
  • Visiting lecturer Sussex University 1986–2004, post-qualifying social work training courses.


I obtained my PhD in 1996 for a study that focused on child abuse and effectiveness of counselling/psychotherapy (Dale, 1999; Dale & Allen, 1998; Dale et al. 1998).

I have more recently completed research in relation to child protection case management of serious injuries to infants with discrepant parent/carer explanations.

I am the author of over 35 published papers, chapters and books relating to assessment, treatment and counselling in relation to child abuse and child protection. I have presented to many conferences throughout the UK, and in Ireland, France, USA, Canada and Australia.

Selected recent research publications

  • Dale, P. (2013) Restrictions on natural parent contact with infants during care proceedings where forced adoption may be the outcome – some cautions about recent research and developing practice, Journal of Families, Relationships and Societies (pending)
  • Dale, P., Green, R. & Fellows, R. (2005). Child Protection Assessment Following Serious Injuries to Infants: Fine Judgments. John Wiley & Sons: Chichester.
  • Dale, P. (2004). ‘Like a fish in a bowl’: parents’ perceptions of child protection services. Child Abuse Review, 13, 137-157.
  • Dale, P. (2003). Serious injuries and discrepant parent/carer explanations: specialist assessment issues. Family Law Sept. 668-673.
  • Dale, P., Green, R. & Fellows, R. (2002a). What Really Happened? Child Protection Case Management of Infants with Serious Injuries and Discrepant Parental Explanations. London: NSPCC.
  • Dale, P., Green, R. & Fellows, R. (2002b). Serious and fatal injuries with discrepant parental explanations: some assessment and case management issues. Child Abuse Review, 11, 296-312.
  • Dale. P. (2002). Benefits of therapy with adults who were abused as children: some issues from evaluation of counselling services. In: C. Feltham (Ed). What’s the Good of Counselling and Psychotherapy? London: Sage.
  • Dale, P. (1999). Adults Abused as Children: Experiences of Counselling and Psychotherapy. London: Sage.
  • Dale, P. & Fellows, R. (1999). Independent child protection assessments: Incorporating a therapeutic focus from an integrated service context. Child Abuse Review, 8, 4-14.
  • Dale, P. & Allen, J. (1998)  On memories of childhood abuse: a phenomenological study.  Child Abuse & Neglect   22, 8, 799-812
  • Dale, P., Allen, J, & Measor, L. (1998)  Counselling adults who were abused as children: clients’ perceptions of efficacy, client-counsellor communication and dissatisfaction.  British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 26 (2) 141-157.


External examiner PhD. thesis: The Hostage Theory: An exploration of its presence and importance as a partial explanation of protection failure. Stanley, J. Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 1998.

External examiner PhD. thesis: Listening to children: what they tell us about abuse and professional interventions. Mudaly, N. Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 2002.