Dr Maree Higgins
Senior Lecturer

Dr Maree Higgins

Doctor of Philosophy (Social Work), ACU National

Bachelor of Social Work (Hons First Class), UNSW

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of Social Sciences

Maree Higgins is Senior Lecturer and the Social Work Honours Program Convenor at UNSW. Maree undertakes research on human rights priorities of people from refugee backgrounds, those with disability, older people and missing girls. Maree provides research supervision and teaches professional ethics and practice courses. She is an Associate of the Australian Institute of Human Rights and is affiliated with the Forced Migration Research Network, the Kaldor Centre and the Gendered Violence Research Network. 

+61 (2) 9065 6318
158 Morven Brown
  • Book Chapters | 2023
    Higgins M; Murad M; Robinson K; Dew A; Boydell K; McKay F; Watson J; Coello M; Smith L; Johnson K; Wells R, 2023, 'Engaged advocacy: A framework for inclusion of people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in disability policy', in Research Handbook on Disability Policy, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 305 - 321, http://dx.doi.org/10.4337/9781800373655.00034
    Book Chapters | 2019
    Higgins M, 2019, 'Social work with refugees and migrants', in Poon AWC; Ow R (ed.), Mental Health and Social Work, Springer, Singapore, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-0440-8_13-1
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Dew A; Lenette C; Wells R; Higgins M; McMahon T; Coello M; Momartin S; Raman S; Bibby H; Smith L; Boydell K, 2022, '“In the beginning it was difficult but things got easier”: Service use experiences of family members of people with disability from Iraqi and Syrian refugee backgrounds', Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jppi.12424
    Journal articles | 2022
    Smith L; Chescher I; Dew A; Lenette C; Boydell K; Wells R; Higgins M, 2022, 'Key characteristics of the refugee journey for Iraqi and Syrian family members who support someone with disability', Disability and Society
    Journal articles | 2021
    Wells R; Murad M; Higgins M; Smith L; Lenette C; Lappin J; Dew A; Boydell K; Bibby H; Cassaniti M; Isaacs D; Raman S; Zwi K, 2021, 'Exploring the intersection of human rights, health, disability and refugee status: An arts-based approach', Australian Journal of Human Rights, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1323238X.2021.1882044
    Journal articles | 2020
    Dew A; Lenette C; Smith L; Boydell K; Bibby H; Lappin J; Coello M; Raman S; Velkou K; Wells R; Momartin S; Blunden H; Higgins M; Murad M; Barry J; Mohammad Y, 2020, '“To the Arabic community disability is not normal”: Understandings of disability among Iraqi and Syrian people from refugee backgrounds.', Journal of Refugee Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jrs/feaa111
    Journal articles | 2017
    Higgins MS, 2017, 'Reflections on methodology for a qualitative cross-cultural study of human rights', The Australasian Review of African Studies (ARAS), http://afsaap.org.au/assets/16-Maree-Higgins.pdf
    Journal articles | 2017
    Rollins W; Egan R; Zuchowski I; Duncan M; Chee P; Muncey P; Hill N; Higgins MS, 2017, 'Leading Through Collaboration: The National Field Education Network', Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education, https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=054158805483050;res=IELHSS

Evans P, Baldry E, Sheehan R, Newton BJ, Higgins M, Trotter C, Flynn C & Urquhart R Missing girls: from childhood runaways to criminalised woman (2022-2025) Total Grant Awarded: $204,307

Newton, BJ, Higgins, M, Trotter, C., & Sheehan, R., Missing girls: from childhood runaway to criminalised woman (2019) Total Grant Awarded: $5,000

Baldry, E., Evans, P., Newton, BJ, Higgins, M., Trotter, C., & Sheehan, R., Missing girls: from childhood runaway to criminalised woman (2019) Total Grant Awarded: $5,000

Lenette, C., Banks, S., Milne, EJ, Nunn, C., Higgins, M., Atem, A., & Nguyen, D., (2019) Ethics and community-based participatory research in refugee studies: Co-designing a framework with refugee-background co-researchers (2019) Total Grant Awarded: $5,000

Sole: WIL Futures. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW (2019) Total Grant Awarded: $10,000

Ravulo, Fox, Higgins, Blakemore: NUW Alliance Community Hub (NUWACH). Newcastle, UNSW and Wollongong University Scheme (2018) Total Grant Awarded: $1,500

Maree's research focuses on social justice, human rights and contextualised lived experience. She is an investigator on the following projects: 

  • Ethics and community-based participatory research in refugee studies: Co-designing a framework with refugee-background co-researchers
  • Missing girls: from childhood runaway to criminalised woman
  • SESLHD 'Beyond Respite' Project
  • WIL Futures: Love to Life!
  • NUW Alliance Community Hub (NUWACH)

I proudly engage with social work bodies including the Australian Heads of Schools of Socal Work, the National field Educational Network. and the Australian and New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research group as well as human rights and policy bodies including the Kaldor Centre, the Gendered Violence Research Network and the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific. 

My research engages with people with lived experience of forced migration, incarceration, disability and older age, and the organisations working to promote their safety and inclusion including STARTTS, Foundation House, The Black Dog Institute and the Prince of Wales Hospital. 

My Research Supervision

PhDKaren Daniels (2019, Principal): Experiences of people with SMI in Forensic Settings; Danya Schonberger (2021, Joint-Principal): Social work tele-practice with people with disability. Honours: Jordii Burke (2022), Kate Mesaglio (2022), Rona Zaire-Sasson (2022) and Abbey Somers (2022). 


Masters: Ms Miki Hachigo (2021, Principal): Transition into aged care for people who have experienced long-term homelessness and chronic alcohol use;

Honours: Meghan Sproule (2021): Inclusive sexual education with people with Autism Spectrum Disorder; Patricia Ho (2021): Human rights, displacement, conflict and war. Kaydee Jackosalem (2021): Accessibility, engagement, and culturally responsive practice with people from CALD backgrounds; Marina Aguirre (2020): Guatemalan Mayan women’s lived experiences of safety, freedom and identity. Jessica Totenhofer (2020): Social Work Acts of Resistance to Australia’s Refugee and Asylum Seeker Policies; Danya Schonberger (2019): Use of strengths-based approaches with people with intellectual disability; Timothy Indsto (2019): Media representations about male forced migrants. 

My Teaching

  • SOCW1001 Introduction to Social Work
  • SOCW2100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Social Work
  • SOCW3009 Ethics and Reflective Practice
  • SOSS3006 Social Policy in the Workplace
  • SOCW4015 Social Work Honours (Thesis)
  • SOCW4016 Social Work Honours (Practice Portfolio)