Safer Young Lives is part of the Institute of Applied Social Research

Learning Together: Involving children and youth in sexual abuse research


The ‘Learning Together’ project seeks to support researchers to safely and ethically involve children and young people in sexual abuse research and explore what the support needs of researchers are to help them to do this.

For the purposes of this project the term ‘research’ is broadly defined, and includes evaluation and other similar learning initiatives.

Recognising the existence of a range of ethical guidelines and toolkits that already helpfully guide thinking on this, the Learning Together project will focus on the practical challenges of safely and ethically engaging children and young people in sexual abuse research, facilitating conversations and creating outputs to support enhanced practice and capacity in this field. This project is funded by Porticus.


In the first phase of this project, we have undertaken an online survey to understand the key challenges faced by researchers when involving (or seeking to involve) children in sexual abuse research. This will inform the areas and activities we focus on in subsequent phases of the project, where there will be opportunities for peer learning and support, the sharing of real-life research scenarios and resources, and a youth-led project about what safe and ethical research means to them. The survey is now closed and findings will be shared early 2023.

Read more about the survey here

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The project will run from June 2022 to October 2023 and through its different elements and conversations with researchers and young people, a suite of practice tools and other outputs will be developed that speak to the real life challenges researchers working in this field face, and aid the implementation of ethical principles and trauma-informed approaches in this work.


For queries or more information about the project, please contact Helen Beckett at or Claire Soares at


Safer Young Lives Research Centre
Institute of Applied Social Research
University of Bedfordshire
University Square

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