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  • Traffic light detection and recognition in autonomous vehicles

    Dawam, Edward Swarlat; Feng, Xiaohua; University of Bedfordshire (IEEE, 2022-12-13)
    Abstract - Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) face the challenge of recognising active traffic lights under harsh environmental conditions. Standard cameras and computer vision algorithms also face the same challenge. In this paper, we built a small-scale system to mitigate this challenge. First, we developed a light controller and a dataset builder script. The light controller and dataset builder script were then used to build a dataset of traffic lights with different lights activated. Bounding boxes were annotated on the traffic light dataset using dlib's imglab software. The dataset uses the HOG with Linear SVM object detector. An RGB histogram approach is adopted to train a logistic regression model on the feature vector data to recognise which light is "on" among the training images. Finally, a robot control script is developed and tested. The script uses both the object detector and colour recogniser for its detection and recognition. Our results show 89% accuracy in identifying a red-yellow-green traffic light under extreme environmental conditions
  • An evaluation of the Home Office Child Trafficking Protection Fund (October 2020)

    Connolly, Helen; University of Bedfordshire; Home Office (Home Office, 2020-10-31)
    This is a report on the evaluation of the Home Office Child Trafficking Protection Fund. The report offers a descriptive and thematic analysis of the monitoring and research from each of the projects supported by the fund. This analysis is largely drawn from qualitative and quantitative data provided to the Home Office by each of the projects funded and also from qualitative interviews with each of the project leads. The purpose of this report is to highlight the innovation, and specifically the processes undertaken and outcomes achieved within each of the projects and within the fund more generally and, to inform policy and practice on ‘what works’ in the protection, care and support of trafficked children and children at risk of trafficking.
  • Cut off from justice: the impact of excluding separated migrant children from Legal Aid (2015)

    Connolly, Helen; University of Bedfordshire and The Children's Society (The Children's Society, 2015-07-20)
    The research had the following three aims: 1. To increase knowledge and understanding of the nature of the changes to legal services for unaccompanied and separated migrant children since the implementation of LASPO (2012), the scale of the Act, and the profile of children at risk of being left vulnerable to a lack of access to justice. 2. To identify the main issues arising from these changes, including how they have affected immigration related processes, procedures and practices, the indirect consequences of the changes, and the impact they have had on children’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989). 3. To consolidate multiple perspectives on the legal aid changes, drawing from the first hand experiences of children and young people themselves, local authorities, advocates and legal practitioners. The research process involved: A desk-based review of the context, scale and impact of the changes on unaccompanied and separated migrant children. Locating the legal aid changes within the broader framework of the international standards and obligations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Issuing Freedom of Information Requests to various public authorities as a means of getting baseline figures on the scale of the impact on unaccompanied and separated migrant children. Undertaking a survey with practitioners as a way of establishing baseline data about the frequency and circumstances of unaccompanied and separated children out of scope. Interviewing professionals across a range of legal, care and advocacy settings, concentrating on their experiences and perceptions of the ways in which the legal aid changes are directly and directly affecting the lives of unaccompanied and separated migrant children. Having conversations with separated and unaccompanied migrant children directly caught up in the changes about their first hand experiences of immigration processes and procedures and their hopes for others in the future.
  • An update to: Cut off from justice: the impact of excluding separated migrant children from Legal Aid (2017)

    Connolly, Helen; Crellin, Richard; Parhar, Rupinder; The Children's Society; University of Bedfordshire (The Children's Society, 2017-08-01)
    The enactment of the Legal Aid, Punishment and Sentencing of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) has had widespread consequences for the provision of legal aid in the UK. One key feature of the new scheme, of particular importance to The Children’s Society, were the changes made to the eligibility criteria around legal aid for immigration cases. These changes saw unaccompanied and separated children removed from scope for legal aid unless their claim is for asylum, or if they have been identified as victims of child trafficking. Since LASPO came into force in April 2013, The Children’s Society has closely followed the impact of these changes on unaccompanied and separated children. In 2015, we published a report, ‘Cut off from justice’1 , that sought to understand the changing landscape unaccompanied and separated children faced as they seek to regularise their immigration status in the UK. This report updates our findings, four years after the introduction of LASPO, ensuring that the needs of unaccompanied and separated children continue to be heard within a system that often renders them invisible, harming both their childhood and their future.
  • Volunteering and early childhood outcomes: an evidence review

    McLeish, Jenny; Baker, Leila; Connolly, Helen; Davis, Houda; Pace, Charlotte; Suppiah, Celia; Institute for Voluntary Action Research; Parents First (Big Lottery Fund, 2016-05-02)
    In 2015, the Big Lottery Fund engaged Parents 1st to carry out an evidence review exploring if and how volunteering, peer support and ‘community champions’ projects can support child development outcomes. The review was commissioned as part of A Better Start (ABS), a £215million investment, launched in October 2012, which aims to improve the life chances of the most vulnerable babies and children in England. The review is intended to support five voluntary sector-led partnerships to design, develop and implement programmes of science and evidence-based services to improve outcomes in pregnancy and early life for children aged 0-3 (i.e. up to a child’s fourth birthday).

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