Evaluating a new model of tackling child sexual exploitation across England


The Research Team

Last updated: Wed 05, 2016

The research is being undertaken by a team from ‘The International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’ based at the University of Bedfordshire, which was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2013 for its applied research on CSE. 

Our Staff:

Dr Isabelle Brodie

Senior Research Fellow

Bio: Dr Isabelle Brodie is managing the evaluation of participation practice across the Hub and Spoke services. Isabelle began her career in 1994, working on a national study of children’s homes. Since then she has worked as a researcher on a range of projects relating to child welfare, at the University of Bedfordshire and also at the National Children’s Bureau and Birkbeck College. The majority of Isabelle's work has focused on children and young people living in care, with a particular focus on the educational experiences of children in care. More recently she has worked on a variety of projects in the International Centre relating to child sexual exploitation, including work for the NSPCC and the Scottish Government.

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Dr Kate D’Arcy

Senior Research Felllow

Bio: Dr Kate D'Arcy works on the evaluation on a part-time basis and is evaluating approaches to participation practice across the hub and spoke sites. Kate's early career was rooted in youth and community work and she worked in public sector organisations supporting marginalised and excluded communities of young people, she spent many years working within a Traveller Education team working with young Travellers and their families to improve their access and inclusion in education. Her research specialises in Race, Equality and Education, Child Sexual Exploitation and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities. She recently led on the evaluation of ‘FCASE’ ( Families and Communities Against Sexual Exploitation) 2013-2015 and ‘Nightwatch: In Plain Sight’ 2015-2016 : both consider the role of community awareness raising in prevention and support for young people at risk or victims of child sexual exploitation.

Dr Julie Harris

Principal Research Fellow

Bio: Dr Julie Harris leads the Alexi Project evaluation, and is also Evaluation Manager within the International Centre. With an early career rooted in social welfare practice with children, she has some twenty years’ experience in research and evaluation and is an experienced manager of people and projects. Working with services that support marginalised and excluded communities of young people often with complex and overlapping vulnerabilities, she specialises in realist evaluation and in the development of co-produced approaches to measuring the outcomes of social welfare intervention. Prior to joining the University in 2013, she was Assistant Director for Research and Outcome Evaluation in the Strategy Unit at Barnardo’s, where she had also held the organisational lead for child sexual exploitation and trafficking.

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Professor Jenny Pearce OBE

Joint Director of the International Centre

Bio: Professor Jenny Pearce is acting as an advisor to the team. Jenny is Professor of Young People and Public Policy at the University of Bedfordshire, and Joint Director of the International Centre where she manages programs of applied child centred, child protection research. She is the Chair of the Academic Advisory Board to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse 2015 ongoing, and is a panel member of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England inquiry into child sexual abuse within the family environment. Her research and consultancy focuses on preventing sexual violence against children and she works with a range of national and international agencies towards this aim.

Dr Debi Roker

Senior Research Fellow

Bio: Dr Debi Roker is working on the evaluation 2.5 days a week. Prior to her appointment as a Senior Research Fellow in the International Centre she trained in social work, and is also an Independent Visitor for young people in care. Debi spent 18 years in the charity sector undertaking research and evaluation with young people. Her research areas included youth social activism and participation, physical and sexual health, youth justice, and parenting and family life. Debi is committed to the highest standards of ethics in research and evaluation with young people and spent eight years as the external adviser to the ethics review board of the Department of Social Work at the University of Sussex.

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Dr Lucie Shuker

Senior Research Fellow

Bio: Dr Lucie Shuker joins the team as Policy and Dissemination Lead for 2.5 days a week. She has worked at the International Centre at the University of Bedfordshire since 2011 on a series of projects within the award winning team. Her work includes a two year realist evaluation of a safe accommodation project for children at risk or victims of child sexual exploitation and/or trafficking, as well as research into gang associated sexual violence, and evaluations of specialist services for victims of CSE. Lucie has an interest in realist evaluation, the safety of children in care, and the interface between research, policy and practice. She is currently focused on ensuring the Centre's work is effectively shared and embedded in policy and practice.

For more information about the International Centre and its work please go to the website

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