Dr Carlene Firmin, MBE
Senior Research Fellow
Bio: Dr Carlene Firmin MBE is a Principal Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire, where she leads their Contextual Safeguarding and peer-on-peer abuse research programmes. Carlene has spent the past 10 years researching young people’s experiences of community and group-based violence and advocated for comprehensive approaches that keep young people safe in public places, schools and peer groups. Her theory of Contextual Safeguarding has informed policy and research agendas for advancing the protection of adolescents, and she has worked with practitioners across the UK to co-create contextual interventions and develop contextual safeguarding systems within children’s social care. Carlene has also conducted 20 case reviews for safeguarding children’s boards to identify opportunities for intervening with extra-familial forms of significant harm.
Dr Jenny Lloyd
Bio: Dr Jenny Lloyd is a Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire within the International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking. As a member of the Contextual Safeguarding team, she works on two research projects; within Hackney children and families social care to embed a contextual safeguarding approach, and with Ofsted to develop tools for identifying enablers and barriers to tackling harmful sexual behaviour in schools. Previously she has carried out local area audits to assess responses to peer-on-peer abuse and research into police models used to tackle child sexual exploitation.
Bio: Delphine Peace is a Research Assistant at the International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking, where she supports the implementation of contextual safeguarding as part of the Hackney project. She is also working on another project, within the International Centre, that promotes participatory practice with young people affected by sexual violence in Europe. Delphine previously worked for The Children’s Society, developing service models and practice tools.
Bio: Gayanthi Hapuarachchi is a Contextual Safeguarding Project Administrator at the University of Bedfordshire within the International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking. She is currently working as part of the Contextual Safeguarding Team primarily on the Contextual Safeguarding Scale Up Project which is intended to shape policy, regulation and commissioning decisions concerned with safeguarding adolescents who are abused in extra-familial contexts. She is a LLB (Hons) graduate who was previously part of a safeguarding team in a low security setting for vulnerable adults with learning disabilities and behavioural disorders, who assisted in the enforcement and improvement of safeguarding policies and practices.
Bio: Joanne Walker is a Research Assistant at the University of Bedfordshire. Since joining the University in 2015, she has worked across a range of projects involving the production of child sexual exploitation (CSE) guidance, using evidence to improve criminal justice responses to CSE and using creative and meaningful participatory research to explore young people’s perspectives on how we can support healthy child development after sexual abuse. She is currently working as part of the contextual safeguarding team to explore the enablers and barriers to addressing harmful sexual behaviour in schools and to support local authority partnerships and schools to develop effective approaches to addressing this issue.
Dr Lauren Wroe
Bio: Dr Lauren Wroe is a Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire within the International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking. As a member of the Contextual Safeguarding team, she works on two research projects; a contextual safeguarding evaluation of the MOPAC funded pan-London project ‘Rescue and Response: Improving the identification and response to the impact of the exploitation of young people by organised criminals’ and a UK-wide project exploring alternatives to relocation for young people who have been exploited. Prior to joining the International Centre she worked as a social researcher in the area of international child protection, and practised as a social worker in statutory and non-statutory settings in the field of child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and modern slavery, family rights and migration, and mental health.