Dr Silvie Bovarnick

Visiting Research Fellow

Silvie Bovarnick

My research interests are in the area of human rights, child protection and gendered violence. I have a background of working internationally on human rights issues, including child trafficking, and in engaging vulnerable groups in sexual violence research.

I currently lead on a the ‘Small steps can make a big difference (Albania)’ project in partnership with ‘Different and Equal’ in Albania. Funded by Porticus Foundation, the project engages young people with lived experience of sexual violence and trafficking in participatory action research (PAR). The goal of the PAR is to generate evidence on young people’s experiences of seeking help and justice in relation to sexual violence in Albania and to promote child-friendly and victim-centred policy and practice development.

Over the past years, I have worked on the 'Our Voices' programme that promotes the participation of children and young people in addressing sexual violence at an international level. As part of the ‘Being Heard’ project, I conducted an international scoping review on young people’s involvement in participatory research on sexual violence. I have also recently co-authored a Monitoring and Evaluation report summarising learning from the ‘Our Voices Too’ project, which engaged young people in youth advocacy on sexual violence in Albania, Serbia and Moldova.

To date, much of my work has aimed to strengthen links between research, policy and practice in fields related to violence prevention and responses. During the past twenty years, I have worked for various NGOs and government institutions in the UK, Germany and Latin America. In the UK, I have worked as a Senior Research Officer at the NSPCC carrying out research on different areas of child maltreatment, including neglect in adolescence and practice responses to child trafficking. I have also previously served as a Research Associate at the Department of Health undertaking a comprehensive national research programme on the health and mental health implications of violence and abuse. More recently, I have been involved in providing strategic evidence to inform Barnardo’s practice development on child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.


  • PhD in Politics, University of Bristol
  • MA in International Relations, University of Warwick

Teaching Role

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate supervision

Research Interests

  • Sexual violence against children and young people
  • Children and young people’s participation
  • Gendered violence
  • Ethics in the research process
  • The sociology of human rights
  • Human trafficking
  • Public health and violence prevention

Current Research Projects

Small steps can make a big difference (Albania): participatory action research on young people’s experiences of seeking justice and support in Albania in relation to sexual violence.

Recent Research Projects

  • Our Voices Too: supporting young people's participation in preventing sexual violence across Europe
  • Being Heard: promoting children and young people’s involvement in research on sexual violence
  • Providing strategic evidence to inform practice development on child sexual exploitation in Rotherham

Selected Publications

  • Bovarnick, S. and Cody, C. (2021) 'Putting risk into perspective: Lessons for children and youth services from a participatory advocacy project with survivors of sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia.' Children and Youth Services Review 126: 1-11.
  • Bovarnick, S. and Cody, C. (2020) ‘They need to see the people they are affecting by their decision-making’: Developing participatory advocacy with young people on sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia. Monitoring and Evaluation Report: Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy project. Download the report [PDF]
  • Scott, S., McNeish, D., Bovarnick, S. and Pearce, J. (2019) What Works in Child Sexual Exploitation. London: Barnardo’s.
  • Bovarnick, S. with Peace, D., Warrington, C. and Pearce, J. (2018) Being Heard: Promoting children and young people’s involvement in participatory research on sexual violence: Findings from an international scoping review. Download the report [PDF]
  • Bovarnick, S. with D’Arcy, K. (2018) Let’s talk about sexual violence: involving young people in preventative peer education. In H. Beckett and J. Pearce (eds.) Understanding and responding to child sexual exploitation. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Bovarnick, S and Scott, S (2017) Child Sexual Exploitation - Prevention Education: A Rapid Evidence Assessment Download the report [PDF]
  • Bovarnick, S, McNeish, D and Pearce, J (2017) Child Sexual Exploitation - Outreach Work: A Rapid Evidence Assessment Download the report [PDF]
  • Bovarnick, S, Scott, S and Pearce, J (2017) Direct Work with Sexually Exploited or At Risk Children: A Rapid Evidence Assessment Download the report [PDF]
  • Pearce, J, Hynes, P and Bovarnick, S (2013) Trafficked Young people - Breaking the Wall of Silence. London: Routledge.
  • Bovarnick, S (2010) How do you define a ‘trafficked child’? A discursive Analysis of Practitioners’ Perceptions around Child Trafficking. Youth and Policy 104: 80-96.
  • Pearce, J, Hynes, P, & Bovarnick, S (2009) Breaking the Wall of Silence: Practitioner’s Responses to Trafficked Children and Young People. London: NSPCC.
  • Bovarnick, S (2007) Child Neglect. London: NSPCC Child Protection Research Briefing.
  • Bovarnick, S (2007) Universal Human Rights and Non-Western Normative Systems: A comparative Analysis of Violence against Women in Mexico and Pakistan. Review of International Studies 33: 59-74.

Contact Details

E: silvie.bovarnick@beds.ac.uk


University switchboard
During office hours
(Monday-Friday 08:30-17:00)
+44 (0)1234 400 400

Outside office hours
(Campus Watch)
+44 (0)1582 74 39 89



International office

Student support