Recent Submissions

  • Putting risk into perspective: lessons for children and youth services from a participatory advocacy project with survivors of sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia

    Bovarnick, Silvie; Cody, Claire; ; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2021-03-26)
    While engaging survivors of sexual violence in participatory advocacy may not be new to adult services, it is less common among children and youth services that commonly prioritise “protection” over “participation”. This paper draws on monitoring and evaluation data collected from a youth advocacy project with fifteen survivors of sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia. Secondary analysis, adopting a trauma-informed lens, was undertaken on data generated through shared learning events with project partners, focus groups with project staff and workshops with the young women involved. We argue that the identified gains for participants resonate with key elements of trauma-informed responses to sexual violence, namely establishing safety and trust, empowerment, and critical reflection. Although based on work with young women, our findings are relevant to children and youth services interested in engaging survivors in advocacy. Despite the significant ethical and practical challenges, we argue that it is important to put risk into perspective and not lose sight of the potential protective benefits of participatory work for participants.
  • Transitional safeguarding: presenting the case for developing Making Safeguarding Personal for young people in England

    Cocker, Christine; Cooper, Adi; Holmes, Dez; Bateman, Fiona; University of East Anglia; University of Bedfordshire; Research in Practice for Adults (Emerald Group Holdings Ltd., 2021-01-25)
    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to set out the similarities and differences between the legal frameworks for safeguarding children and adults. It presents the case for developing a Transitional Safeguarding approach to create an integrated paradigm for safeguarding young people that better meets their developmental needs and better reflects the nature of harms young people face. Design/methodology/approach: This paper draws on the key principles of the Children Act 1989 and the Care Act 2014 and discusses their similarities and differences. It then introduces two approaches to safeguarding: Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP); and transitional safeguarding; that can inform safeguarding work with young people. Other legal frameworks that influence safeguarding practices, such as the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Human Rights Act 1998, are also discussed. Findings: Safeguarding practice still operates within a child/adult binary; neither safeguarding system adequately meets the needs of young people. Transitional Safeguarding advocates an approach to working with young people that is relational, developmental and contextual. MSP focuses on the wishes of the person at risk from abuse or neglect and their desired outcomes. This is also central to a Transitional Safeguarding approach, which is participative, evidence informed and promotes equalities, diversity and inclusion. Practical implications: Building a case for developing MSP for young people means that local partnerships could create the type of service that best meets local needs, whilst ensuring their services are participative and responsive to the specific safeguarding needs of individual young people. Originality/value: This paper promotes applying the principles of MSP to safeguarding practice with young people. It argues that the differences between the children and adult legislative frameworks are not so great that they would inhibit this approach to safeguarding young people.
  • Co-production of two whole-school sexual health interventions for English secondary schools: positive choices and project respect

    Ponsford, Ruth; Meiksin, Rebecca; Bragg, Sara; Crichton, Joanna; Emmerson, Lucy; Tancred, Tara; Tilouche, Nerissa; Morgan, Gemma; Gee, Pete; Young, Honor; et al. (BioMed Central Ltd, 2021-02-17)
    Background: Whole-school interventions represent promising approaches to promoting adolescent sexual health, but they have not been rigorously trialled in the UK and it is unclear if such interventions are feasible for delivery in English secondary schools. The importance of involving intended beneficiaries, implementers and other key stakeholders in the co-production of such complex interventions prior to costly implementation and evaluation studies is widely recognised. However, practical accounts of such processes remain scarce. We report on co-production with specialist providers, students, school staff, and other practice and policy professionals of two new whole-school sexual heath interventions for implementation in English secondary schools. Methods: Formative qualitative inquiry involving 75 students aged 13–15 and 23 school staff. A group of young people trained to advise on public health research were consulted on three occasions. Twenty-three practitioners and policy-makers shared their views at a stakeholder event. Detailed written summaries of workshops and events were prepared and key themes identified to inform the design of each intervention. Results: Data confirmed acceptability of addressing unintended teenage pregnancy, sexual health and dating and relationships violence via multi-component whole-school interventions and of curriculum delivery by teachers (providing appropriate teacher selection). The need to enable flexibility for the timetabling of lessons and mode of parent communication; ensure content reflected the reality of young people’s lives; and develop prescriptive teaching materials and robust school engagement strategies to reflect shrinking capacity for schools to implement public-health interventions were also highlighted and informed intervention refinements. Our research further points to some of the challenges and tensions involved in co-production where stakeholder capacity may be limited or their input may conflict with the logic of interventions or what is practicable within the constraints of a trial. Conclusions: Multi-component, whole-school approaches to addressing sexual health that involve teacher delivered curriculum may be feasible for implementation in English secondary schools. They must be adaptable to individual school settings; involve careful teacher selection; limit additional burden on staff; and accurately reflect the realities of young people’s lives. Co-production can reduce research waste and may be particularly useful for developing complex interventions, like whole-school sexual health interventions, that must be adaptable to varying institutional contexts and address needs that change rapidly. When co-producing, potential limitations in relation to the representativeness of participants, the ‘depth’ of engagement necessary as well as the burden on participants and how they will be recompensed must be carefully considered. Having well-defined, transparent procedures for incorporating stakeholder input from the outset are also essential. Formal feasibility testing of both co-produced interventions in English secondary schools via cluster RCT is warranted. Trial registration: Project Respect: ISRCTN12524938. Positive Choices: ISRCTN65324176
  • Working in complex, short-term relationships

    Kohli, Ravi K.S.; Dutton, J. (Jessica Kingsley, 2018-02-21)
  • Reflections on upholding the rights of youth leaving out of home care

    Munro, Emily (Oxford University Press, 2019-04-11)
  • Havering: Face to Face Pathways: final evaluation report

    Bostock, Lisa; Khan, Munira; Munro, Emily; Lynch, Amy; Baker, Claire; Newlands, Fiona; Antonopoulou, Vivi; Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care, University of Bedfordshire (Department for Education, 2020-07-31)
    F2FP was an ambitious programme of change designed to embed systemic practice across the care pathway for young people on the edge of care, in care and leaving care. The project started in October 2017 and ended in October 2019. Key elements included: • targeted, intensive work through the Families Together team (FTT) with young people on the edge of care and their families to prevent entry to care where appropriate • adapting in-care provision to support 8 systemically trained and intensively supported foster carers (‘pathways carers’) to stabilise placements for children with complex needs and avoid the need to move children to residential care • extending leaving care services to young people aged 14 through to 25 and introducing ‘pathway co-ordinators’ to support access to multi-agency services • ensuring co-production is fully embedded and improving business intelligence to aid analysis, monitoring of progress and ability to better target resources
  • Safeguarding and exploitation - complex, contextual and holistic approaches: strategic briefing

    Firmin, Carlene Emma; Wroe, Lauren; Lloyd, Jenny; University of Bedfordshire (Research in Practice, 2019-05-22)
    This briefing can be used to inform the development of holistic, complex and contextual safeguarding systems that are equipped to address and prevent exploitation in all its forms. The briefing: * Provides an integrated account of the different forms of exploitation experienced by children and young people (including young adults) in relation to how they are defined, experienced and addressed. * Documents the strategic challenges posed by national policy frameworks (or lack thereof) associated to exploitation – as well as the legacy of siloed local structures or ineffective pathways for safeguarding adolescents. * Provides a set of considerations for designing an effective response to exploitation with reference to practice examples. * Identifies factors that enable a workforce to adopt an integrated approach to exploitation.
  • Contextual safeguarding and county lines

    Wroe, Lauren; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-10-31)
    Children and young people who are trafficked to sell drugs are being subjected to a form of extrafamilial harm. Whilst there is no statutory definition of ‘child criminal exploitation’ (CCE), CCE and the trafficking of children to sell drugs on ‘county lines’ are named in Working Together 2018 (HM Government, 2018) as forms of child abuse and as such those affected are entitled to a child protection response. This briefing will: - Map the emergence of ‘county lines’ as a child welfare issue - Introduce the four domains of Contextual Safeguarding - Outline how a Contextual Safeguarding approach to assessment, planning, intervention and outcome measurement could offer an alternative response to young people who are affected by ‘county lines’ - Undertake all of the above from an ecological, child welfare and participatory perspective
  • A sigh of relief: a summary of the phase one results from the Securing Safety study

    Firmin, Carlene Emma; Wroe, Lauren; Skidmore, Paula; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-05-31)
    When practitioners are faced with young people who are being sexually exploited, coerced to traffic drugs around the country, or who have experienced serious violence in their communities, they sometimes move them a significant distance from their homes and communities. How often, for what purpose, and to what effect are such relocations used? While there may always be situations where it is necessary to move a young person, and sometimes their entire family, in order to keep them safe, anecdotal unease about the practice of relocations means there is far more we need to understand to ensure that such a disruptive, and costly, intervention is used to best effect. This research briefing presents the findings from the first phase of the Securing Safety study, which seeks to understand the rate, cost and impact of relocations of young people in response to extra-familial harm. It builds on studies into the use of fostering, residential care and secure settings during interventions for young people affected by sexual exploitation (Beckett, 2011; Ellis, 2018; Firmin, 2018; Shuker, 2013; Sturrock and Holmes, 2015) to focus specifically on how such interventions are used for broader forms of extra-familial harm and what their effective and ethical use might entail in the future. Engaging 15 local authorities in England and Wales, we begin to build a national picture of how often, why and in what circumstances this form of intervention is used to protect children and young people. The data collected in year one builds a rich picture of the complex and contested use of relocation. It highlights that moves are sometimes used as the only means of keeping a young person physically safe, that they can both disrupt and repair relationships, and that while they can be used to enable young people to access therapeutic support, consideration of the emotional impact of a relocation may be de-prioritised against other risks. Relocation can create a moment of relative safety for a young person, with one practitioner sharing that ’everyone breathes a sigh of relief’ when a move is complete. Considering the findings from the first year of our study we propose an interim set of recommendations and ask, if relocations offer a sigh of relief, who for?
  • Surmounting the hostile environment: reflections on social work activism without borders

    Wroe, Lauren; Ng'andu, Bridget; King, Lynn (PM Press, 2020-12-31)
  • The Lucy Faithfull Foundation: twenty-five years of child protection and preventing child sexual abuse

    Bailey, Alexandra; Squire, Tom; Thornhill, Lisa Marie; Lucy Faithfull Foundation (Springer, 2018-12-07)
    The Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF) is the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse (CSA). This chapter provides an overview of LFF’s projects over the last 25 years, including the Wolvercote Clinic, and work with young people and women. The authors give attention to the major CSA prevention initiatives developed by LFF, including the development of the Stop it Now! campaign and Helpline. The chapter considers the growing problem of indecent images of children and the importance of strategies to encourage deterrence and desistance. LFF’s recent Deterrence Campaign and Get Help website are offered as prevention strategies for deterring online offending at the outset, along with considering LFF’s ongoing service developments.
  • Beyond referrals: levers for addressing harmful sexual behaviour in schools: a self-assessment resource for schools

    Lloyd, Jenny; Walker, Joanne; Bradbury, Vanessa; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-12-31)
    The Beyond Referrals self-assessment toolkit is intended to support schools to identify and assess the factors that contribute to addressing HSB in schools. The Beyond Referrals project launched the toolkit in 2018, following research in schools. This new updated version includes new levers and guidance on carrying out the self-assessment. The toolkit is supported by online tutorials available on the Contextual Safeguarding Network.
  • The impacts of child sexual abuse: a rapid evidence assessment

    Fisher, Cate; Goldsmith, Alexandra; Hurcombe, Rachel; Soares, Claire; IICSA Research Team (Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse, 2017-07-31)
    The aim of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA or ‘the Inquiry’) is to investigate whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales, and to make meaningful recommendations for change, to help ensure that children now and in the future are better protected from sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse (CSA) involves forcing or enticing a child or young person under the age of 18 to take part in sexual activities. It includes contact and non-contact abuse, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and grooming a child in preparation for abuse. As part of its work, the Inquiry is seeking to examine the impacts of child sexual abuse on the lives of victims and survivors and their families, as well as the impacts on wider society. These questions are of cross-cutting relevance to the work of the Inquiry. They have particular salience for its ‘Accountability and Reparations’ investigation, which is exploring the extent to which existing support services and legal processes effectively deliver accountability and reparation to victims and survivors.
  • Child sexual abuse in custodial institutions: a rapid evidence assessment

    Mendez Sayer, Ellie; Rodger, Holly; Soares, Claire; Hurcombe, Rachel; IICSA Research Team (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2018-03-31)
    Child sexual abuse (CSA) involves forcing or enticing a child or young person under the age of 18 to take part in sexual activities. It includes contact and non-contact abuse, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and grooming a child in preparation for abuse. As part of its work the Inquiry is undertaking an investigation into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation while in custodial institutions. The investigation will consider the nature and scale of child sexual abuse within the youth secure estate in addition to institutional responses to the sexual abuse of children in the youth secure estate. The rapid evidence assessment (REA) has been carried out to inform the investigation by reviewing the existing research evidence base. The REA explores the following: • Evidence related to the prevalence of child sexual abuse in custodial institutions; • Socio-demographic characteristics, both of victims and perpetrators; • The factors associated with failure to protect or act to protect children in the care of custodial institutions; • The nature of the safeguarding systems in place and how they have changed over the years; • Recommendations in the literature regarding how those systems may be improved to better protect children in custody from sexual abuse
  • Safe inside? child sexual abuse in the youth secure estate

    Soares, Claire; George, Rachel; Pope, Laura; Brähler, Verena; IICSA Research Team (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2019-02-28)
    The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (‘the Inquiry’) aims to consider the extent to which state and non-state institutions in England and Wales have failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation, and to make meaningful recommendations for change. This research explores perceptions and experiences of safeguarding in the youth secure estate in England and Wales, specifically in relation to child sexual abuse. It complements the Inquiry’s investigation into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse while in custodial institutions. The research provides contemporary insight from staff and children across different establishments in the youth secure estate. The study sought to find out the extent to which children feel safe from sexual abuse in the youth secure estate, and the role of staff, systems and processes within this
  • Truth Project thematic report: child sexual abuse in the context of religious institutions

    Hurcombe, Rachel; Darling, Andrea; Mooney, Beth; Ablett, Grace; Soares, Claire; King, Sophia; Brähler, Verena; IICSA Research Team (Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse, 2019-05-31)
    This is the first publication in a series of thematic reports examining what victims and survivors have shared with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (‘the Inquiry’) as part of the Truth Project about their experiences of child sexual abuse and the institutional context in which it occurred. It details the research findings in relation to experiences of sexual abuse that occurred in ‘religious contexts’, based on the location or perpetrator of the abuse. This includes both sexual abuse that has taken place in a religious institution and sexual abuse that has taken place in a different setting but where the perpetrator was a member of the clergy or other staff affiliated with a religious institution (see section 1.2 for a more detailed discussion of our inclusion and exclusion criteria). The accounts in this report are from victims and survivors who came to the Truth Project between June 2016 and November 2018. The majority of participants reported sexual abuse by individuals from Anglican and Catholic Churches in England and Wales. However, such abuse within other Christian denominations and other religions – including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam and Judaism – was also reported and is included in the analysis. The analysis was undertaken by members of the Inquiry’s Research Team between November 2018 and May 2019.
  • Truth Project thematic report: child sexual abuse in the context of children’s homes and residential care

    Soares, Claire; Ablett, Grace; Mooney, Beth; King, Sophia; IICSA Research Team (Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse, 2019-11-30)
    The Truth Project is a core part of the Inquiry alongside Public Hearings and Research. It was set up to hear and learn from the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in England and Wales. It offers victims and survivors an opportunity to share experiences of child sexual abuse. By doing so, Truth Project participants make an important contribution to the work of the Inquiry. With the consent of participants, the Inquiry uses Truth Project information in a variety of ways, including for ongoing research and data analysis carried out by the Inquiry’s Research Team. This is the second research publication in a series of thematic reports examining what victims and survivors have shared with the Truth Project about their experiences of child sexual abuse and the institutional context in which it occurred. It details the research findings in relation to experiences of child sexual abuse that occurred in the context of children’s homes and residential care.
  • University network: children challenging sexual violence: second briefing paper

    Maternowska, Catherine; Peace, Delphine; Pearce, Jenny J.; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-09-30)
    The ‘International University Network: Children Challenging Sexual Violence’ is a new initiative to capture and promote participatory activities undertaken by universities around the world to challenge sexual violence against children (SVAC). The network, led by ‘The International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’ at the University of Bedfordshire (hereafter referred to as ‘the International Centre’), and supported by Oak Foundation and Tides Foundation, is part of the Our Voices programme of work. As part of the Our Voices programme of work, we are particularly interested in participatory approaches involving people collaboratively in university activities: this can include engaging them in developing curriculum or teaching activities or in designing and conducting research. Following the launch of the network in May 2019, we published a briefing paper sharing initial findings from a survey we designed to map out academics and institutions working in this field (from March to May 2019). This first briefing is available here. In July 2019 we held our first webinar in which we outlined our vision for the network and shared further survey and interview findings from our initial scoping with experts working in this field. The webinar was held in collaboration with ‘The End Violence Against Children Global Partnership’ and potential overlapping activities and objectives between these two international networks were identified. The second half of the webinar consisted of a Q&A and discussion session where participants shared ideas for future developments. This second briefing provides a recap of our first webinar.
  • Peer support for young people who have experienced sexual violence? the rationale and key themes from the literature: briefing paper two

    Cody, Claire; Peace, Delphine; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-04-30)
    This briefing is based on a review of the literature that was carried out in preparation for a scoping study that aimed to learn lessons from those engaged in peer support interventions for young people who had experienced sexual violence. This briefing paper: Provides a rationale outlining why there may be value in peer support interventions for young people who have experienced sexual violence. Considers the spectrum of activities that have elements of peer based work. Outlines key themes from the limited existing research on peer support for those impacted by sexual violence. Outlines relevant themes arising in the broader literature on peer support.

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