Random responses? understanding sexually exploited young women’s relationships with secondary school education
AuthorsRawden, Helen Doreen
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AbstractThis thesis aims to explore the relationships that young women who have experienced, or have been at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE), have had with secondary school education. Previous studies of CSE have not dealt with the effects on young women’s education during and following CSE. Therefore, the educational outcomes for this cohort of young women are poorly understood. To respond to this gap in knowledge, this thesis asks questions about the educational and labour market experiences of young women who have experienced CSE during their secondary school years. In the light of those experiences, what are the policy and practice implications, and what effect does experiencing CSE have on young women’s perceptions of their aspirations for their future. Interviews have taken place with nine young women who have experienced CSE, 16 specialist CSE voluntary sector key workers and three professionals variously working in safeguarding children and in Pupil Referral Units (PRU’s). As a result of these interviews, this study has discovered concerning levels of school exclusion and referral to PRUs among young women who experience, or who are at risk of CSE during their secondary school years. This thesis argues that the experiences of sexually exploited young women are not being taken into account when decisions are made about their education and that their right to an adequate education is not being met. A search of historical literature established that the identification of behaviour among female pupils, which can be recognised as CSE was documented in the Newsom Report (1963). A review has been undertaken to establish how far CSE policy and procedure has advanced to meet the needs of sexually exploited young women since the recommendations made by Melrose, Barrett and Brodie (1999). Conclusions have been drawn from the literature of the previous decade that there has been a lack of attention to the educational outcomes of young women experiencing CSE. Two theoretical foundations underpin this research: firstly, a Feminist Constructivist Grounded theory approach to women who have experienced sexual violence, contributing to recommendations for policy change that will benefit young women. Secondly, the thesis employs Social Pedagogy, in terms of the relationships which can be built with young women who have experienced CSE, to support their engagement with education. This is supported by consideration of the discourse on the rights of a child to an education appropriate to their needs and aspirations. This thesis concludes that young women’s education is liable to be damaged by experiencing CSE and that there is not enough knowledge to resolve this problem. Further research is required to understand what is involved in ensuring that sexually exploited young women’s rights to education are being met.
CitationRawden, H. (2019) 'Random Responses? Understanding sexually exploited young women’s relationships with secondary school education'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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