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

Journeys through the Justice System Following Abuse


‘Journeys Through the Justice System Following Abuse’ is a research project that is exploring children and young people’s views of criminal justice processes, following an experience of child sexual abuse (CSA). The research has been commissioned by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), as part of a wider study they are conducting into attrition in CSA cases within London.

It is recognised that levels of victim/survivor withdrawal in CSA (including child sexual exploitation) cases are high – which is unsurprising given the documented impacts of such abuse and the challenges of associated criminal justice processes. Although a number of studies have explored victims’ perspectives on CSA related criminal justice processes, there remains a specific evidence gap about the relationship between these experiences and attrition rates. This study seeks to address this gap; hearing children and young people’s experiences of criminal justice processes, attrition and outcomes – in their own words.


The study will involve individual interviews with up to 20 children and young people, to ascertain how they experienced their involvement in criminal justice processes, what factors impacted upon this, and their views on associated outcomes. Interviews will also explore participants’ views on how such experiences might be improved for others. Fieldwork is taking place between mid-September and end-November 2023, with findings due to be published in early 2024.


This project is currently underway and we will be publishing a report and accompanying young person’s output in early 2024.


For queries or more information about this project, please contact Debbie Allnock at or Claire Soares at


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