Professor Bob Lonne

Professor in Social Work - School of Health

Bob Lonne

Phone: +61 2 6773 5797



Professor Lonne is the Discipline Leader of Social Work in the School of Health at UNE. Bob’s distinguished career has included direct practice and managerial positions in the mental health, statutory child protection and juvenile justice fields in both Queensland and Western Australia. He has been an academic at QUT, University of Queensland and UNE and has held senior leadership roles.

Professor Lonne is recognised by Inquiries as an expert witness regarding child protection systems and was cited over 40 times in Queensland’s Carmody inquiry report into the child protection system. He and his UNE colleagues have undertaken research for the NSW ‘Their Futures Matter’ reforms (FACS) investigating assessment tools and policies for the ‘front door’ of child protection systems to improve access by families and children in need, and along with colleagues from other universities he has undertaken research about children’s views of safety for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

His PhD research examined the factors affecting the recruitment and retention of rural social workers, as well as the process of personal and professional adjustment they experienced when relocating to take up a position in a rural community. He has demonstrated high level national leadership in a number of areas including:

  • Child protection systems
  • Workforce issues in the health care and social assistance sector
  • Social policy issues
  • Accreditation standards for social work educational programs.
  • Other social welfare issues.

Professor Lonne remains very active in high level policy forums and committees concerning areas such as child protection reform and workforce issues affecting the health and community services. He also works closely with a number of community-based human service organisations.

Professor Lonne attended the Australian 2020 Summit in relation to the issues affecting rural communities. He was the National President of the Australian Association of Social Workers from 2005-2011, having been twice elected by members, and was formerly the Elections Officer for the International Federation of Social Work.

Teaching Areas

Bob teaches in social work courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, teaching across a range of units. His teaching interests include general social work practice knowledge and skills, theories, models and practice methods and processes, and he has a particular focus on child protection and youth justice. His interests include the broad societal issues affecting social policy and service users in the increasingly complex and often fragmented health and community services.

Research Interests

Bob’s track record includes over $1,360,000 in research grants, and 5 books, 1 monograph, 14 book chapters and 42 refereed journal articles, and five government reports. He has had high-level national leadership roles, and a longstanding commitment to the area of child protection and its workforce issues. Professor Lonne’s research interests include:

  • Reform of contemporary child protection systems and the impacts on children, families and practitioners
  • Human Services workforce planning and development
  • Rural communities, social care and social welfare service delivery issues including the recruitment and retention of human service practitioners
  • Disaster response and recovery for human service agencies and vulnerable communities
  • Ethical practice within the changing Human Services environment.
  • The interface between social policy frameworks and human services practice.

His research and scholarship regarding the systemic responses to child abuse and neglect have resulted in his being invited to participate and contribute to policy forums at the state and federal levels, and internationally such as the implementation of early intervention and prevention strategies in Ireland, and with the Ministry of Human Services, Alberta, Canada regarding Outcomes Based Service Delivery initiatives in child welfare. He was a Ministerial appointment to the FACHSIA-ARACY Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support (CARRS) Taskforce 2009-2012 and to CARRS Evaluation Group, and numerous health and human services workforce forums and committees, including the Queensland Clinical Education and Training Council oversighting HWA workforce development and expansion initiatives, and the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services Child and Family Reform Stakeholder Advisory Group overviewing the implementation of the Carmody Inquiry reforms.



  1. Lonne, B., Scott, D., Higgins, D., & Herrenkohl, T. (Eds.).  (2019). Re-visioning public health approaches for protecting children. New York: Springer Publishers.
  2. Lonne, B., Harries, M., Featherstone, B. & Gray, M. (2016). Working ethically in child protection. London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis).
  3. Lonne, B., Parton, N., Thomson, J., & Harries, M. (2009). Reforming Child Protection. London: Routledge.
  4. Cheers, B., Darracott, R., & Lonne, B. (2007). Social care practice in rural communities. Annandale, NSW, Federation Press.

Recent Book Chapters

  1. Duthie, D., Steinhauer, S., Twinn, C., Steinhahauer, V. & Lonne, B. (2019). Understanding trauma and child maltreatment experienced in Indigenous communities. In B. Lonne, D. Scott, D. Higgins & T. Herrenkohl (Eds.), Re-visioning public health approaches for protecting children (pp. 327-348). New York: Springer Publishers.
  2. Herrenkohl, T., Lonne, B., Scott, D., & Higgins, D. (2019) New directions for public health approaches: Key themes and issues. In B. Lonne, D. Scott, D. Higgins & T. Herrenkohl (Eds.). Re-visioning public health approaches for protecting children (pp. 487-500). New York: Springer Publishers.
  3. Higgins, D., Lonne, B., Herrenkohl., T. & Scott, D. (2019). The successes and limitations of contemporary approaches to child protection. In B. Lonne, D. Scott, D. Higgins & T. Herrenkohl (Eds.). Re-visioning public health approaches for protecting children (pp. 3-18). New York: Springer Publishers.
  4. Higgins, D., Sanders, M., Lonne, B., & Richardson, D. (2019). Families – private and sacred: How to raise the curtain and implement family support from a public health perspective. In B. Lonne, D. Scott, D. Higgins & T. Herrenkohl (Eds.). Re-visioning public health approaches for protecting children (pp. 127-144). New York: Springer Publishers.
  5. Merkel-Holguin, L., Fuller, T., Winokur, M., Drury, I. & Lonne, B. (2019). How can differential response inform a public health approach to child maltreatment prevention? In B. Lonne, D. Scott, D. Higgins & T. Herrenkohl (Eds.). Re-visioning public health approaches for protecting children (pp. 181-196). New York: Springer Publishers.
  6. Darracott, R. & Lonne, B. (2017). Social work in rural and remote communities, K. Ellem, E. Chui & J. Wilson (Eds.) social work and human services: Best practice (pp. 185-207). Annandale, NSW: Federation Press.
  7. Lonne, B., McColl, G., & Marston, G. (2016). Community recovery, In G. Fitzgerald, P., Aitken, M., Tarrant & M. Fredriksen (Eds.) Disaster health management: Primer for students and practitioners. London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis).
  8. Lonne, B. (2016). ‘Australian social work in the twenty-first century: Workforce trends, challenges and opportunities’, in G. Palattiyil, D. Sidhva & M. Chakrabarti (Eds.) Social work in a global context: Issues, trends and challenges, (pp. 268-286). London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis).
  9. Lonne, B. (2015). Mandatory reporting and the difficulties in identifying and responding to risk of severe neglect: A response requiring a rethink. In B. Mathews &. Bross, D. (Eds.), Mandatory reporting laws and the identification of severe child abuse and neglect, pp. 245-273. New York: Springer.

Recent Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  1. Darracott. R., Lonne. B., Cheers, B., & Wagner, I. (2019). The influences on practice in social care: An Australian study. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership, & Governance, 43(1), 16-40.
  2. Scott, D., Lonne, B., & Higgins, D. (2016). Public health models for preventing child maltreatment: Applications from the field of injury prevention. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse. 17(4), 408-19. doi: 10.1177/1524838016658877
  3. Withington, T., Duplock, R., Burton, J., Eivers, A. & Lonne, B. (2017). Exploring children’s perceptions of engagement with their carers using factor analysis. Child Abuse and Neglect, 63, 41-50.
  4. Withington, T., Burton, J., Lonne, B., & Eivers, A. (2016). Carer perspectives of factors affecting placement trajectories of children in out-of-home care. Children and Youth Services Review, 65, 42-50.
  5. Hu, Y., Burton, J., & Lonne, B. (2016). Empowering children left behind in China. Asian Social Work and Policy Review, 10(2), 175-184. DOI: 10.1111/aswp.12086
  6. Hu, Y., Lonne, B., & Burton, J. (2016). The social exclusion of children left behind in China. Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work & Development, 26(2-3), 77-87, special edition ‘Social Inclusion – The Asian Experience '
  7. Redfern, H., Burton, J., Lonne, B. & Seiffert, H. (2016). Social work and complex care systems: The case of people hospitalised with a disability. Australian Social Work, 69(1), 27-38. DOI: 10.1080/0312407X.2015.1035295
  8. Lonne, B., Brown, G., Wagner, I. & Gillespie, K. (2015). Victoria’s Child FIRST and IFS differential response system: Progress and issues. Child Abuse & Neglect39, 41-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.08.003
  9. Hu, Y., Lonne, B. & Burton, J. (2014). Enhancing the capacity of kin caregivers and their families to meet the needs of children left behind. China Journal of Social Work, (7)2, 131-144DOI: 10.1080/17525098.2014.921209
  10. Hu, Y., Lonne, B. & Burton, J. (2014). Informal kinship care in rural China: the influence of Confucianism and Attachment. Families, Relationships and Societies. DOI:
  11. Gillespie, K., McCosker, L., Lonne, B., & Marston, G. (2014). Australian Print Media Framing of Mandatory Reporting. Communities, Children and Families Australia, 18(2), 13-28.
  12. Lonne, B. & Parton, N. (2014). Portrayals of child abuse scandals in the media in Australia and England: Impacts on practice, policy and systems. Child Abuse & Neglect. 38(5), 822-836.
  13. Lonne, B. & Gillespie, K. (2014). How do Australian print media representations of child abuse and neglect inform the public and system reform? Child Abuse &Neglect, 38(5), 837-850. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.04.021
  14. McCosker, L., LonneB., Gillespie, K. & Marston, G. (2014). Feature article coverage of Australian out-of-home care: Portrayals and policy reform. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 84(3), 257-265. doi: 10.1037/h0099828