• Tackling child sexual exploitation: a study of current practice in London

      Beckett, Helen; Firmin, Carlene Emma; Hynes, Patricia; Pearce, Jenny J.; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2014-01-01)
      In autumn 2013, London Councils and the London Safeguarding Children Board commissioned a team of researchers from the University of Bedfordshire to map current responses to child sexual exploitation (CSE) across London. The study was conducted in October/November 2013. The findings are drawn from an in-depth quantitative survey (completed by 30 London boroughs and local safeguarding children boards) and eight semi-structured interviews with statutory and voluntary sector providers.
    • Teenage pregnancy: strategies for prevention

      Hadley, Alison; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2020-11-16)
      Teenage pregnancy is a cause and consequence of inequality, limiting the life chances of young parents and their children. It is an issue of global concern, with many countries developing programmes of prevention. This review focuses on the experience of the England strategy, launched in 1999 to address the historically high rates. It is one of the few examples of a successful long term, multi-agency programme, led by national government and locally delivered which, between 1998 and 2018, reduced the under-18 conception rate by 64%. It sets out the case for helping young people delay early pregnancy, the international evidence for prevention, how evidence is translated into a ‘whole system’ approach and the priorities for further reducing inequalities. Questions are included to encourage both investigation into local programmes on teenage pregnancy prevention, and reflection on individual practice. The review concludes with summarizing the next steps for England and the lessons that can be shared more widely.
    • Teenagers in foster care: Issues, themes, and debates from and for practice and policy

      Shuker, Lucie; Sebba, Judy; Höjer, Ingrid (Wiley, 2019-08-31)
      The task of fostering adolescents is unique, requiring skills, qualities, and information that acknowledge each young person's particular needs. This editorial summarises a range of research in this special issue covering parenting styles, transitions out of care, child sexual exploitation, and the needs of LGBTQ and separated teenagers. Three themes emerging from the papers are discussed: autonomy and control; risk, resilience, and trauma; and relationships, identity, and stigma.
    • Testing the “triple imperative”: A drama-based exploration of migrant children’s views

      Opfermann, Lena S.; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor & Francis, 2015-10-16)
      In an effort to address challenges associated with unaccompanied and undocumented migrant children in South Africa, civil society and academics have been using a rights-based approach that largely overlooks the children’s own perspectives. In response to this shortcoming, this study explored the views of migrant children living in Cape Town. By applying a drama-based methodology, the study aimed to follow calls for a “triple imperative” in forced migration studies. This imperative demands that research with so-called vulnerable groups should comply with enhanced ethics standards in order to produce policy relevant academic knowledge. The article develops two main arguments. First, the study has shown that many migrant children lack a stable reference person and therefore see themselves in charge of their own lives, yet that the lack of a legal document hinders them from fulfilling their responsibilities and pursue their goals. Following from this I argue that documenting migrant children not only fulfills the purpose of providing a legal right to stay, but also constitutes a form of stability and recognition of the children’s dig- nity. Secondly, I propose that drama-based research fulfills enhanced ethics standards, as it results in a form of “social reciprocity” that contributes to participants’ wellbe- ing. Since drama-based research also produces policy relevant results, I conclude that this methodology meets the “triple imperative.”
    • The Thames Gateway: an analysis of the emergence of a sub-regional regeneration initiative

      Church, Andrew; Frost, Martin ([Wiley, Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)], 1995-07-01)
      This paper examines the recent evolution of a sub-regional planning initiative in the Thames Gateway which is part of London and the South East region of England. In the late 1980s this area had become a focus for the regeneration strategies of national, regional and local government agencies which were justified on the basis of generalizations of the area's socio-economic structure, largely based on its unfavourable image as the 'back-yard' of London. This paper presents some empirical analyses of recent economic and social change affecting the characteristics of sub-areas of the Thames Gateway and considers the aims of redevelopment strategies.
    • That other epidemic: a review of Simon Harding’s County Lines

      Pitts, John; University of Bedfordshire (National Youth Agency, 2020-05-04)
      John Pitts reviews Simon Harding's book 'County Lines: Exploitation and Drug Dealing among Urban Street Gangs', due to be published in May 2020. Pitts presents Harding's findings alongside other emerging County Lines research and data. He suggests the need to better understand emerging trends in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, where the supply and demand for drugs is likely to increase.
    • There’s something there for everyone : learning about the Lighthouse: young people’s perspectives on London’s Child House

      Beckett, Helen; Soares, Claire; Warrington, Camille; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2022-02-16)
      The Lighthouse, London’s Child House, 1 opened in October 2018. Bringing together a range of organisations under one roof, the Lighthouse’s intention is to be a child friendly, multidisciplinary service for those who have experienced sexual abuse, with the foremost aim to be focused on the child (Conroy et al., 2018). The Child House approach is informed by that of Child Advocacy Centres in the United States and the Barnahus model in Scandinavia. The Lighthouse is a member of the Promise Barnahus Network, 2 a member-led organisation that works to harmonise and consolidate good Barnahus practice across Europe (Parker et al., forthcoming). The Evidence and Insight Unit at MOPAC was commissioned to evaluate the Lighthouse. As part of this evaluation, they commissioned staff from the Safer Young Lives Research Centre (SYLRC) at the University of Bedfordshire to elicit the views of a cohort of children and young people who had engaged with the Lighthouse, in a study entitled ‘Learning about the Lighthouse’. Key learning from young people’s contributions to ‘Learning about the Lighthouse’ has been incorporated into MOPAC’s overall evaluation report (Parker et al., forthcoming). This report provides an accompaniment to that broader report. In line with the Lighthouse’s own aim to be focused on the child, this report provides a distinct space where young people’s views are the sole focus and central source of learning. Though scaffolded by researcher narrative, informed by cumulative analysis of all contributions, young people’s contributions are shared in individual participants’ own words.
    • ‘They believe this’ : taking pupils’ religious backgrounds into account in relationship and sex education

      Shuker, Lucie; Beckett, Helen; Faisal, Rehana; Newlands, Fiona; Lynch, Amy; Apeland, Gry; Faiths Against Child Sexual Exploitation; University of Bedfordshire; Youthscape Centre for Research (University of Bedfordshire, 2021-10-01)
      This research explored young people’s experiences of, and views on, the place of religion in Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). We surveyed 157 15-19-year-olds from 29 different secondary schools, including those with and with no religious faith, and spoke to 16 Christians and Muslims aged 18-21 in four online focus groups.
    • 'They don't talk about it enough' : report on the 2014 consultations with youth advisors for 'Our Voices' : short report

      Cody, Claire; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2015-01-01)
      In the summer of 2014 as part of the 'Our Voices' project, the project team at the University of Bedfordshire, together with country partner projects, organised a number of consultations with Youth Advisors across Albania, Bulgaria and the UK. The consultations aimed to find out from youth advisors: what young people feed the issues are around sexual violence in their communities; what the barriers and challenges to young people talking about sexual violence and accessing support are; what young people think could be done to stop sexual violence; how young people could be more involved in preventing sexual violence.
    • ‘They need to see the people they are affecting by their decision-making’: developing participatory advocacy with young people on sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia : monitoring and evaluation report

      Bovarnick, Silvie; Cody, Claire; University of Bedfordshire; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-05-01)
      In 2019, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) celebrated its 30th anniversary. The UNCRC grants children the right to participation, to have a say on matters affecting them, and to be heard. On 18 November 2019 – the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse – the Council of Europe prioritised ‘children’s participation’, emphasising the importance of ‘empowering children to stop sexual violence’. Children and young people’s participation are high on the international policy agenda. The reality frequently lags behind such political aspirations. In practice, the right to participation is not extended to all children and young people equally. The significant practical and ethical challenges associated with engaging vulnerable groups in participatory initiatives mean that children and young people affected by sexual violence are often sidelined from such opportunities. As a result, the highly relevant perspectives of ‘experts by experience’ tend to be marginalised from processes of knowledge-creation and decision-making. However, their perspectives are key to developing targeted responses that reflect the needs and priorities of those affected by the issue. As professionals and organisations, we need to expand our skill set and knowledge about how to safely involve children and young people with lived experience in participatory work. This requires resources as well as professional capacity and confidence building.
    • ‘They need to see the people they are affecting by their decision-making’: developing participatory advocacy with young people on sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia: monitoring and evaluation report

      Bovarnick, Silvie; Cody, Claire; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-05-31)
      Responding to the gap identified above, the Our Voices programme seeks to build capacity and knowledge about the ethical involvement of children and young people in participatory work addressing sexual violence at an international level (for more information visit: www.our-voices.org.uk). Our Voices is co-ordinated by the International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking (IC) at the University of Bedfordshire in England, United Kingdom, and co-funded by Oak Foundation. As part of the broader Our Voices programme, the IC co-ordinated the OVTOO project between November 2016 and March 2020. This report focuses on one component of the OVTOO project: the OVTOO youth advocacy project. As part of the OVTOO youth advocacy project, the IC collaborated with three partner organisations in Eastern Europe: Different & Equal (D&E) in Albania; National Center for Child Abuse Prevention (NCCAP) in Moldova; and NGO ATINA (ATINA) in Serbia. The three partner organisations work directly with children and young people affected by different forms of sexual violence including trafficking for sexual exploitation. The aim of the project was to build the capacity of the three partner organisations to safely involve young people with experience of sexual violence in participatory advocacy on this issue. To this end, the IC supported the partners to deliver a 12-week participatory advocacy training programme with a small group of young people who were current or former users of their services. The purpose of the training programme was to equip participants with skills and knowledge to become youth advocates; to enable them to identify a problem in relation to sexual violence affecting children and young people in their country and develop advocacy activities to address this problem in their local contexts.
    • To stop women and girls carrying knives, tackle the abuse and violence they face

      Firmin, Carlene Emma; University of Bedfordshire (2019-08-09)
      Knife possession offences involving women and girls have soared. But the real problem is a lack of services and support.
    • Tough girls: gender performance and safety within schools

      Walker, Joanne; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2020-01-29)
      This paper explores the association between the gender rules operating within schools, harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) between pupils and the ways safety is created in these spaces. The ability and responsibility of school institutions to inform gender rules within schools is of particular focus. The paper draws on data from a mixed-methods study exploring HSB in seven secondary schools in England. Findings indicate that gendered rules not only play a role in explaining HSB in schools, they also inform discourses of safety and influence pupils’ attempts to subvert gendered harm. Drawing on research on local space, it is suggested that school institutions can work to maintain or challenge the gendered rules between pupils, and subsequently, limit or provide effective options to create pupil safety. The paper argues that schools have a responsibility to construct safe spaces for pupils by challenging harmful gender norms and behaviour.
    • Towards a contextual response to peer-on-peer abuse : research and resources from MsUnderstood local site work 2013-2016

      Firmin, Carlene Emma; Curtis, George; Fritz, Danielle; Olaitan, Paul; Latchford, Lia; Lloyd, Jenny; Larasi, Ikamara; University of Bedfordshire; MsUnderstood; Imkaan (University of Bedfordshire, 2016-09-01)
      In 2013 the University of Bedfordshire, Imkaan and the Girls against Gangs Project formed the MsUnderstood Partnership (MSU) to support the development of responses to peer-on-peer abuse specifically, and young people’s experiences of inequality, more broadly. The partnership sought to bring academic rigour, partnerships with practitioners and young people’s voices to the fore of the debate, and generate practice-based evidence to support the development of responses that engaged with young people’s lived realities of violence and abuse. We achieved this through: • A programme of work with local multi-agency partnerships to audit and develop their responses to peer-on-peer abuse (Local Site Work) • A paid internship and young people’s engagement programme • Engagement in policy consultation and influencing • The dissemination of research, practice learning and young people’s voice This report chronicles the findings and resources generated by MSU over the past three years, with specific reference to the tools and knowledge created alongside professionals through local site work.
    • Towards a contextual response to peer-on-peer abuse: research and resources from MsUnderstood local site work 2013-2016

      Firmin, Carlene Emma; Curtis, George; Fritz, Danielle; Olaitan, Paul; Latchford, Lia; Lloyd, Jenny; Larasi, Ikamara; Contextual Safeguarding Network (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2016-06-20)
      This report chronicles the findings and resources on peer-on-peer abuse generated by the MsUnderstood Partnership over the past three years, with specific reference to the tools and knowledge created alongside professionals through local site work. The programme of work was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Samworth Foundation and Trust for London.
    • Towards a family justice outcomes framework: a working paper

      Munro, Emily; Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre (Loughborough University, 2014-07-01)
      The Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre was commissioned to undertake a small-scale feasibility study to explore approaches to developing a more robust child outcomes framework for the family justice system (in both public and private law). This involved a preliminary mapping exercise to identify: the numbers of children involved in key processes; explore what data one would ideal want to collect and compare this with what is currently collected and/or published. Guided conversations with nine experts, including members of the FJB, academics, policy makers from the Department for Education and Ministry of Justice and CAFCASS young people’s board were also conducted, to ascertain their views on what an ideal family justice framework could look like. In addition, an expert advisory group have offered feedback on a preliminary output. The paper offers some initial suggestions on potential ways forward which require further debate and refinement based upon feedback from the judiciary, lawyers and socio-legal and social work academics and practitioners.  
    • Towards geographies of child protection

      Disney, Tom; Lloyd, Jenny (Wiley, 2020-09-20)
      The emergence of current and historic cases of child abuse across the globe has, in recent years, dominated the news, political agendas and popular discourse surrounding children. From serious case reviews to exploitation in post-conflict zones, from sexual abuse of children by groups to trafficking of drugs across countries, the importance of protecting children is an increasing concern in many countries. Key to, and inherent in, all of these processes and phenomena are child protection systems, working in varying degrees of effectiveness. While geographic interest has touched upon many of these areas, the role of child protection systems, and the practitioners that work within these, do not explicitly feature within this work. In this article, we seek to develop an introduction to geographies of child protection, producing an initial critical review which points to future research avenues in this field. We adopt a Foucauldian approach and review four themes to illustrate the ways in which geographical approaches might yield important insights. Drawing primarily on England as a context, we consider the historical geographies and origins of child protection, relational practices in contemporary child protection, the impact of austerity and finally we consider what future directions might require a geographical approach.
    • ‘Traffickers and their victims’: anti-trafficking policy in the United Kingdom

      Sharapov, Kiril; University of Bedfordshire (SAGE Publications Ltd, 2015-08-20)
      This paper relies upon the ‘what’s the problem represented to be?’ approach to policy analysis to interrogate key representations of human trafficking implicit in the UK government’s anti-trafficking policy. It identifies six policy vectors, or representations, of human trafficking embedded within the policy, including organized crime, ‘illegal’ immigration, and victim assistance as three primary vectors; sexual exploitation/prostitution, poverty in countries of victims’ origin, and isolated instances of labour law infringements as three secondary vectors. In addition, a series of assumptions, which underlie the current interpretation of trafficking, are also identified. By exploring what the problem of human trafficking is represented to be, the paper also provides an insight into what remains obscured within the context of the dominant policy frameworks. In doing so, it highlights the role of state-capital entanglements in normalizing exploitation of trafficked, smuggled and ‘offshored’ labour, and critiques the UK’s anti-trafficking policy for manufacturing doubt as to the structural causes of human trafficking within the context of neoliberalism.