Project: Routes into sexual exploitation: going missing, agency and victimhood.  An exploration of the perceptions of young people involved

Researcher: Dr Jane Dodsworth

Date: 2013-14

Funder: British Association for the Study of Child Abuse and Neglect

There is increasing awareness of child sexual exploitation and the individual, family and environmental factors which contribute to involvement. Many young people involved have childhood histories of adversity and there is growing awareness of the additional vulnerability of those who have experience of the care system and/or of running away from care or home.  The sense individuals make of these experiences impacts on how they perceive themselves, their sense of victimhood or agency, routes taken and receptiveness to safeguarding services:.  Aims and objectives of the research were:

* to gain an understanding of the experiences and perspectives of young people involved in sexual exploitation, particularly those who have run away from care/ home and are involved in substance misuse

* to identify whether it is possible to determine risk and protective factors in the young people's perceptions of agency and victimhood

* to add, from the perspectives of the young people involved, to what is known about routes into involvement, perceptions of agency and pathways taken in order to raise awareness of what has been until recently a largely hidden issue.

* to increase the development of effective service interventions which have meaning to the young people involved.

Following careful consideration of ethical factors, 20 participants aged 16 plus were sought via ‘gatekeepers' from specific specialist outreach projects. Semi-structured interviews charted participant's lives and examined experiences in their narratives. A qualitative approach was taken to data collection and analysis to ensure findings are grounded in the expertise of those directly involved.

Impact:  A report to BASPCAN and a presentation for the National BASPCAN conference 2014, and for the participating LCSBs.

To read the full report click here - 'Routes into Sexual Exploitation'