Centre for Child Protection celebrates 10 years of influence and achievement

Heidi Pullig

During November, the University’s Centre for Child Protection will be celebrating a decade of collaboration and the impact it has made both in the UK and internationally.

Since it was founded 10 years ago by Professor Jane Reeves and Professor David Shemmings, the Centre has achieved multiple milestones within its global network of partners. These include the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NCPCC), the NHS, the Counter Terrorism Unit (a collaboration of UK police forces working with intelligence partners to prevent, deter and investigate terrorist activity), the Home Office and Kent Police.

Since 2012, through a suite of interactive, innovative child protection simulations, the Centre has been keeping children safe by educating a multi-professional group of child protection workers and young people in the UK and beyond.

Drawing inspiration from gaming technology back in 2011, the Centre’s interactive method of child protection training – the highly engaging simulations Rosie 1, Rosie 2, myCourtroom, Lottie, Maryam & Joe, Crossing the line, and Zak ­- has produced some impressive results. These include:

  • Improving the court room skills of more than 14,000 social workers, enabling them to represent neglected and abused children more effectively
  • Over 6,000 educators gaining knowledge about how to prevent young people from being radicalised and groomed, and in turn teaching hundreds of thousands of children using the simulations
  • 278,000 people learning to identify risks of sexual exploitation by using the simulations
  • A 10% decrease in calls to Childline counsellors (2018) on issues linked to relationships was achieved, via educating young people directly on grooming with Lottie through their website

Dr Tracee Green, Head of the Centre for Child Protection, said: ‘The Centre for Child Protection has had a significant impact in safeguarding children both nationally and internationally in the last decade. Our pioneering training pedagogy using simulations has included a double pronged approach to keeping children safe; first, supporting the education of young people of online dangers and second, providing continuing professional development to multidisciplinary child protection practitioners on neglect, sexual abuse, courtroom skills and grooming.

‘Our postgraduate research and teaching initiatives have continued to go from strength to strength with an expanding PhD population, a growing list of outstanding and involved alumni students and a multi-award-winning public engagement portfolio.

‘I am very proud of the work and impact of the Centre for Child Protection over last decade and look forward to the next 10 years where we will continue to break new ground in safeguarding research, training and impact.’

The Centre is developing its award-winning simulations with a new initiative for 2023, the aim of which is to enhance trauma informed approaches in police practice with girls who have lived experiences of child sexual exploitation.