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University of Bedfordshire wins national prize for pioneering research into child sexual exploitation

The Queen's Anniversary Prizes 2013

Fri 22nd November, 2013

THE University of Bedfordshire has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its pioneering research into child sexual exploitation.

The prestigious prize is the highest form of national recognition open to higher and further education institutions in the UK and the award enhances the University’s widely-acknowledged reputation for its work in raising awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The announcement was made by the Royal Anniversary Trust, which said the University of Bedfordshire’s work is of strategic national importance, influencing UK policy and practice, adding that it has positioned the University as a leader of child-centred research in an area of growing social concern.

Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, said: "Receiving the illustrious Queen's Anniversary Prize provides further recognition of the University of Bedfordshire's widely-recognised reputation for its ground-breaking research in social work and social care. I am particularly pleased that by addressing the societal challenge of child sexual exploitation, this University has helped to influence policy and change practice."

The Trust described the University’s activity in CSE as being exceptional and distinctive, as it has helped alter perceptions of children so they are seen as victims of child abuse, and worked with welfare agencies to ensure that children are safeguarded rather than criminalised through the youth justice systems. The Trust said this has brought about a “greatly improved practice in the protection of children and young people” and a fundamental change in approaches to child sexual exploitation.

Professor Jenny Pearce, Director of the International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking, at the University of Bedfordshire, who led the work, said she was delighted the University’s ground-breaking research has been recognised, adding: “Our work is distinctive and unique because of its collaborative approach, engaging with partners in government, funders, service providers and voluntary agencies, and because we prioritise the voice of the child through participatory methods of work.

“As a result, we are working with young people and other colleagues to advance theory, policy and practice. We are contributing to widespread changes in approaches to child sexual exploitation, positioning it firmly within strategies to safeguard children. ”

Doreen Massey, Baroness of Darwen, Patron of the International Centre, said: “I am delighted that the University has won the Queen's Anniversary Prize for its extraordinary and important work. I have witnessed the success of the International Centre in empowering vulnerable young people to find their voice and to go on to be confident and assured of their own potential. This has been achieved through ground-breaking, meticulous research and through working with partners concerned for these young people.”

Notes to Editors:

To request an interview with Professor Jenny Pearce, please contact the press office at the University of Bedfordshire: 01582 743046; 07724 241214; press.office@beds.ac.uk

Twenty institutions were announced as winners of the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education at a reception hosted by the Royal Anniversary Trust. The announcement was made by the Royal Anniversary Trust by kind permission of Her Majesty The Queen, at a reception at St James’s Palace on 21 November 2013.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize recognises and celebrates outstanding work within UK higher and further education institutions and the impact that they have. They are the UK’s highest form of national recognition open to a UK higher or further education institutions. The winning entries represent individual departments or research groups, major international development projects, community schemes and vocational programmes and the application of cutting-edge research. Further information can be found at: www.royalanniversarytrust.org.uk

  • The University of Bedfordshire (www.beds.ac.uk) is the largest higher education institution in the county, providing excellent opportunities for more people to access top quality higher education. We aim to create a vibrant multi-cultural learning community enabling people to transform their lives by participating in excellent, innovative education, scholarship and research.
  • The University of Bedfordshire has over 24,000 students, representing over 100 countries. Around 35% of students are aged over 25 and about three-quarters of students receive financial support from the university. Between 2006 and 2013 over £180 million has been invested in new facilities at the university, which contributes approximately £300 million annually to the local economy.
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