University secures funding to help fight child sexual exploitation with Bedfordshire Police

The University of Bedfordshire has secured half a million pounds of funding to establish a national centre of expertise to improve police response to child sexual exploitation and related vulnerabilities.

Dr Helen Beckett, Joint Director, The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking at the University said: "We welcome this opportunity to work further with the police and to link our world leading research into CSE to the practice taking place out in the field.

"This is a critical time to invest in this issue with serious examples of failures to safeguard young people embedded in the public consciousness and with CSE now identified as the sixth national strategic threat."

The establishment of a centre of expertise will allow sustainable collaborative working, at both national and regional levels, between the police and academia. It will seek to ensure there will be a research-informed, enhanced police response to young people affected by CSE, other forms of child sexual abuse (CSA) and related vulnerabilities."

The University will work with a range of organisations including the National Policing Lead for Child Protection and Abuse Investigation, a network of regional police coordinators, Public Health England, and several leading children's charities, to improve understanding of this issue on the frontline.

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