22 Sep 2014
Child protection policy and practice has largely ignored young people's experiences of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and peer-on-peer violence. Law enforcement and child protection responses are not intergrated, resulting in oversimplified interpretations of young people's victimhood and criminality.
Bedfordshire has the only research centre in Europe exclusively targeting these problems The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking. The centre works with four UK children's charities to prevent CSE; directs funding to CSE practitioners by coordinating 23 trusts and runs a 'CSE research forum' which engages over 500 practitioners and researchers. It also enables CSE victims to gain internships and employment and offers skill development opportunities.
Research findings have been used to create tools for all English Local Safeguarding Children's Boards and to evaluate service provision within Scottish, Irish and English governments.