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 is being delivered by the Safer Young Lives Research Centre and the University of Central Lancashire. It 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.

Learning together

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 undertook an online survey to understand the key challenges faced by researchers when involving (or seeking to involve) children in sexual abuse research.

You can read more about the survey in the survey information sheet [PDF] and a summary of key findings from the survey can be found in the outputs section below. This has informed the areas and activities the project is now focusing on. We have now started to facilitate small group discussions on ‘thorny issues’ including approaches to ethics and researcher welfare and we’ll be offering opportunities for further discussions, peer learning and support, and the sharing of real-life research scenarios and resources, over the coming months. We have also been working on a youth-led project about what safe and ethical research means to them. The outputs from this strand of work are currently being developed and will be published early 2024.

Throughout the project, we’ll also be producing a series of short blogs and case studies. You can find these under the outputs section below which will continue to be updated.

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The project will run from June 2022 to June 2024 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.

Learning Together survey results [PDF]

Blogs and case studies


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