The focus of our work within the Centre is on applied research, and we are committed to producing knowledge that is relevant, useful and easily accessible to a range of knowledge users. Our research projects focus on impact and dissemination from the outset,and we work closely with partner agencies and local authorities to ensure that the recommendations we produce are grounded in the ‘real world’. Additionally, all of our Centre members are actively engaged in teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, ensuring that teaching within Human and Health Sciences is informed by current research findings.

We have a strong focus on aiding dissemination of knowledge to a broad user group, and increasingly use new technologies to support this. Examples include webcasts delivered in partnership with ‘Stop It Now!’ and a web-based forum for young people introduced as part of the COPING Project as well as E-newsletters and social media sharing through Twitter.

Our work has continuing influence in a number of ways:

  • Policy at national and international levels; on child protection, abuse and sexual victimisation and children affected by HIV-AIDS
  • Legal reforms on child protection
  • Criminal justice reforms, for example in highlighting the needs of children of prisoners
  • Promoting understanding of the mental health implications of parental imprisonment for children
  • Promoting children’s rights, participation and rights of expression
  • Professional practice on the inclusion of children in decisions that affect them
  • Strengthening advocacy for social justice for women and children

Protecting Children from Abuse and Exploitation

Researchers within the Centre are engaged in on-going research concerning areas around child abuse; producing outputs that aim to benefit users including government departments, social workers, health professionals, local authorities and agencies. Notably, Professor Nigel Parton has conducted an extensive body of work critiquing and contributing to child protection policy, and has contributed to understanding of organisational and systemic approaches to prevention. Professor Parton held the NSPCC Chair for safeguarding children for many years, and his work is regularly accessed for policy reform both within the UK and at international level.

Children and Young People who Sexually Abuse

Professor Helen Masson has worked since the 1990’s to produce research outputs that have made a major contribution to the development of new knowledge concerning children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours.

In recent years Professor Masson has been invited to advise various NSPCC projects associated with sexual offending, and acted as consultant to Lancashire Area Child Protection Committee Working Party on the development of a county wide service for children and young people who have sexually abused. In 2009 she was invited to the City University of Hong Kong to lecture staff, students and the public there on areas of her research. Whilst there, she also visited various welfare services in order to raise awareness of policy and practice implications of work in this area.

Therapeutic Residential Care for Abused and Neglected Children

Dr Bernard Gallagher has worked extensively in the area of organised child sexual abuse, notably conducting one of very few studies in the UK evaluating the quality of care provided to, and outcomes for, abused children placed in therapeutic residential care. Outcomes of this research include the production of a major report for commissioning body SACCS which has been used to develop and improve the care they provide to children. Professor Gallagher has also published papers in peer-reviewed journals, ensuring the wider dissemination of his work with frontline staff; and his work has been particularly important in understanding the role of computer technologies in the abuse of children, being regularly accessed by police officers and other professionals working in this field.

Child Sexual Abuse in the Caribbean

Professor Adele Jones has led over 24 externally funded projects examining various aspects of childhood experience, including several grants for the study of child sexual abuse in the Caribbean. Her work in the Eastern Caribbean has led to National Action Plans on child sexual abuse in each of the six participating countries, resulting in new legislation on child protection. The research conducted by CACS continues to drive action to address child sexual abuse in the region, supported by public media campaigns developed by UNICEF. In 2013, Professor Jones published the first book on this topic in the region, which is now being used by professionals and government departments to inform decision making and was selected as a feature book by the research dissemination network Alpha Galileo.

The Expansion of e-technologies into Child Welfare Professional Practice

Dr Sue Peckover has made a significant contribution to an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded research team concerned with the expansion of e-technologies into child welfare professional practice. Leading to wider debates about surveillance in society, this research led to a critical analysis of the impact of policy developments upon practice, with outputs including a submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution, and contributions to the Munro Review of Child Protection.

Dr Peckover also conducted evaluative research into WomenCentre (hyperlink resulting in improvements in domestic abuse services across the organisation and is now responsible for masterclasses on safeguarding children held by the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research in partnership with WomenCentre.