The University of Bedfordshire has been awarded funds by the NSPCC and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to examine how we can better support healthy child development after sexual abuse.
Learning from the experts: young people’s perspectives on how we can support healthy child development after sexual abuse is one of four projects to have been commissioned by NSPCC and the ESRC to help find out what works to help children get back on track after abuse.
The University’s International Centre: researching child sexual exploitation violence and trafficking will investigate the mental health and wellbeing needs of young people who have experienced sexual abuse in adolescence. The researchers will work with young people who have experience of these issues – and their parents/carers and professionals working with them - to ascertain their perspectives on how to better identify and respond to their needs. Ultimately the University will create practical resources to help people affected by sexual abuse.
Dr Helen Beckett who will lead the research for Bedfordshire, along with Dr Camille Warrington and Dr Debra Allnock said: “We know that an experience of sexual abuse impacts mental health and well-being, however we are less clear about what should be done, and when, to try and address these impacts.
“This research will focus particularly on young people whose experience of sexual abuse occurred during adolescence as their needs are under-researched and we cannot assume that what works for someone who experiences sexual abuse as a younger child will work for someone who experiences it at a much older age.”
The other projects commissioned by the NSPCC and the ESRC are: Identifying and responding to the trauma of maltreated children, led by Dr John Devaney, Queen’s University Belfast; Resilience and vulnerability to childhood maltreatment in an 18-year longitudinal study of British children, led by Dr Andrea Danese, King’s College London; and Latent vulnerability, childhood maltreatment and mental health: Advancing theory and practice, led by Prof Eamon McCrory, UCL
Dr Beckett continued: “We are delighted to be awarded this grant, and particularly grateful for the funders’ willingness to invest in work that attempts to bring the voices of those affected by these issues into the centre of our efforts to respond to it.”
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