Recent Submissions

  • Model based clustering of political finance regimes: developing the regulation of political finance indicator

    Horncastle, William C.R,; ; University of Birmingham (Elsevier, 2022-09-07)
    Political finance literature lacks a common framework for classifying regulatory systems. As these tools are influential in the identification of generalizable relationships, studies assessing political finance in areas such as corruption, competition, and electoral outcomes, often present case specific findings. Using updated International IDEA data, the application of a Multiple Correspondence Analysis and Model Based Clustering framework presents a variable to measure levels of regulation; the ‘Unregulated’, ‘Partially Regulated’ and ‘Strongly Regulated’ system types; and statistics for assessing the certainty of each country’s classification. Applying this methodology to a 180-country sample represents an improvement on previous studies which, due to data limitations, have often used reductive methods and limited sampling. In closing, the ‘Regulation of Political Finance Indicator’ is introduced via Multinomial Logistic Regression, where analyses from prior literature are revisited. Avenues for further study are provided, which may seek to identify generalizable relationships in the areas described above, while also looking to produce ongoing panel data.
  • Children’s perspectives on family members’ needs and support after child sexual abuse

    Warrington, Camille; Beckett, Helen; Allnock, Debra; Soares, Claire; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2023-03-17)
    Intra-familial child sexual abuse is acknowledged to have wide-reaching impacts within the family environment; impacts that can affect both non-abusing family members’ own wellbeing and their capacity to support the child who has been abused. Yet research also demonstrates the important role that can be played by family members, in the aftermath of the identification of abuse, when appropriately supported. This article builds on this existing evidence base (that is primarily drawn from research with parents/carers and professionals) through analysing a unique qualitative data set, developed using interviews and a creative ‘toolkit’ approach with 53 children and young people (aged 6–19 years), who had experienced sexual abuse in the family environment. The article explores their perspectives on the wider family impacts of identification of abuse, their perceptions of the associated support needs of other family members and their understanding of how this relates to their own recovery. The findings firstly suggest the need to recognise children’s relationships with non-abusing family members as a fundamental and interdependent aspect of their recovery in the aftermath of sexual abuse in the family environment. Secondly, they demonstrate the need to recognise the high levels of (self-perceived) responsibility that child victims experience for impacts on their non-abusing family members. Finally, they highlight how professional support to non-abusing family members is explicitly identified as an unmet need by children themselves, and how crucial it is to alleviate what children describe as the ‘ripple effect’ of additional challenges and harms emanating after abuse is identified. The article concludes by considering the implications of these findings, further strengthening arguments around the importance of viewing children’s needs relationally and the unique and critical insights to be gained from involving children in research addressing child sexual abuse.
  • An evaluation of the Home Office Child Trafficking Protection Fund (October 2020)

    Connolly, Helen; University of Bedfordshire; Home Office (Home Office, 2020-10-31)
    This is a report on the evaluation of the Home Office Child Trafficking Protection Fund. The report offers a descriptive and thematic analysis of the monitoring and research from each of the projects supported by the fund. This analysis is largely drawn from qualitative and quantitative data provided to the Home Office by each of the projects funded and also from qualitative interviews with each of the project leads. The purpose of this report is to highlight the innovation, and specifically the processes undertaken and outcomes achieved within each of the projects and within the fund more generally and, to inform policy and practice on ‘what works’ in the protection, care and support of trafficked children and children at risk of trafficking.
  • Cut off from justice: the impact of excluding separated migrant children from Legal Aid (2015)

    Connolly, Helen; University of Bedfordshire and The Children's Society (The Children's Society, 2015-07-20)
    The research had the following three aims: 1. To increase knowledge and understanding of the nature of the changes to legal services for unaccompanied and separated migrant children since the implementation of LASPO (2012), the scale of the Act, and the profile of children at risk of being left vulnerable to a lack of access to justice. 2. To identify the main issues arising from these changes, including how they have affected immigration related processes, procedures and practices, the indirect consequences of the changes, and the impact they have had on children’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989). 3. To consolidate multiple perspectives on the legal aid changes, drawing from the first hand experiences of children and young people themselves, local authorities, advocates and legal practitioners. The research process involved: A desk-based review of the context, scale and impact of the changes on unaccompanied and separated migrant children. Locating the legal aid changes within the broader framework of the international standards and obligations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Issuing Freedom of Information Requests to various public authorities as a means of getting baseline figures on the scale of the impact on unaccompanied and separated migrant children. Undertaking a survey with practitioners as a way of establishing baseline data about the frequency and circumstances of unaccompanied and separated children out of scope. Interviewing professionals across a range of legal, care and advocacy settings, concentrating on their experiences and perceptions of the ways in which the legal aid changes are directly and directly affecting the lives of unaccompanied and separated migrant children. Having conversations with separated and unaccompanied migrant children directly caught up in the changes about their first hand experiences of immigration processes and procedures and their hopes for others in the future.
  • An update to: Cut off from justice: the impact of excluding separated migrant children from Legal Aid (2017)

    Connolly, Helen; Crellin, Richard; Parhar, Rupinder; The Children's Society; University of Bedfordshire (The Children's Society, 2017-08-01)
    The enactment of the Legal Aid, Punishment and Sentencing of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) has had widespread consequences for the provision of legal aid in the UK. One key feature of the new scheme, of particular importance to The Children’s Society, were the changes made to the eligibility criteria around legal aid for immigration cases. These changes saw unaccompanied and separated children removed from scope for legal aid unless their claim is for asylum, or if they have been identified as victims of child trafficking. Since LASPO came into force in April 2013, The Children’s Society has closely followed the impact of these changes on unaccompanied and separated children. In 2015, we published a report, ‘Cut off from justice’1 , that sought to understand the changing landscape unaccompanied and separated children faced as they seek to regularise their immigration status in the UK. This report updates our findings, four years after the introduction of LASPO, ensuring that the needs of unaccompanied and separated children continue to be heard within a system that often renders them invisible, harming both their childhood and their future.
  • Volunteering and early childhood outcomes: an evidence review

    McLeish, Jenny; Baker, Leila; Connolly, Helen; Davis, Houda; Pace, Charlotte; Suppiah, Celia; Institute for Voluntary Action Research; Parents First (Big Lottery Fund, 2016-05-02)
    In 2015, the Big Lottery Fund engaged Parents 1st to carry out an evidence review exploring if and how volunteering, peer support and ‘community champions’ projects can support child development outcomes. The review was commissioned as part of A Better Start (ABS), a £215million investment, launched in October 2012, which aims to improve the life chances of the most vulnerable babies and children in England. The review is intended to support five voluntary sector-led partnerships to design, develop and implement programmes of science and evidence-based services to improve outcomes in pregnancy and early life for children aged 0-3 (i.e. up to a child’s fourth birthday).
  • Transitions for young people seeking asylum

    Kohli, Ravi K.S.; Connolly, Helen (Policy Press, 2009-10-05)
    This chapter begins by referring to Eva Hoffman’s experiences of migration, because these reflect, in important respects, some of the core experiences of transitions for people moving from one country to another, from one home to another, and in the case of those seeking asylum, from a place of harm to a place of safety. When young people become refugees, they often undertake such extensive journeys towards political, legal, and psychological safety. As forced migrants, these young people make the journey and the journey makes them. For all young asylum seekers, the movements range from securely achieving a home and sense of place after obtaining leave to remain in the country, to prolonged, chronic uncertainty about where to go to be safe. In that respect, forced migration and resettlement yield many trajectories, only some of which are understood by researchers. The chapter analyses the research evidence of the sorts of changes and transitions young people seeking asylum make, and what helps them to feel safe in volatile situations and conditions.
  • Without my family: the impact of family separation on child refugees in the UK (January 2020)

    Connolly, Helen; University of Bedfordshire; Amnesty International UK; Refugee Council; Save the Children (Amnesty International UK, Refugee Council and Save the Children, 2020-01-01)
    As if fleeing conflict and persecution wasn’t enough, for child refugees in the UK safety can come at a heavy price. Our report Without My Family highlights the devastating impact on children who have already experienced so much. Along with Refugee Council and Save the Children, the report exposes the impact on child refugees living in the UK of being separated from their families.The children we spoke to told us how the government's policy of keeping families apart caused them constant anxiety, fear for the safety of their parents and siblings and in some cases serious damage to their mental health. The UK governments refusal to guarantee a child's right to family reunification is in breach of its international obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The arguments the governments put forward in denying these rights revolve around an unfounded fear of encouraging dangerous journeys by more asylum seeking children. Nothing in this research, or wider research into the issue supports this contention. The children we spoke to invite the government to imagine themselves or their families in a similar situation. With your help we're calling for the following changes to the current rules: * Allow child refugees in the UK the right to sponsor their close family, so they can rebuild their lives together and help them integrate in their new community * Expand who qualifies as family, so that young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents can join their family in the UK * Reintroduce legal aid for refugee family reunion cases so people who have lost everything have the support they need to afford and navigate the complicated process of being reunited with their families. We are proud to be part of the Families Together coalition, campaigning for change alongside more than 50 other organisations who want to bring #FamiliesTogether.
  • The power of the wicked. Bad Biblical queens in Carolingian propaganda

    Stone, Rachel; Lamy, Marielle; Shimahara, Sumi; University of Bedfordshire (Beauchesne, 2023-02-02)
  • Paulinus of Aquileia, Pippin of Italy and the virtuous nobleman

    Stone, Rachel; Borri, Francesco; Albertoni, Giuseppe; University of Bedfordshire (Brepols, 2023-01-05)
  • Creating stable futures: human trafficking, participation and outcomes for children

    Hynes, Patricia; Connolly, Helen; Durán, Laura; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Bedfordshire (Sheffield Hallam University/University of Bedfordshire, 2022-07-01)
    This report summarises the main findings from a 12-month participatory research study based on the voices of young people who have experience of modern slavery. The research aimed to understand what positive outcomes for these young people would look like, and what the pathways towards these positive outcomes might be. It examines how to ensure protection and support for children who have experienced modern slavery. The research was led by the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Bedfordshire’s Institute of Applied Social Research, in partnership with ECPAT UK (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking).
  • “I don’t have an address”: housing instability and domestic violence in help-seeking calls to a support service

    Weatherall, Ann; Tennent, Emma; Victoria University of Wellington (SAGE Publications Ltd, 2020-11-11)
    Increasing recognition of the long-term negative impacts of gendered violence has led to the establishment of a variety of social support services. Feminist research has examined the barriers that prevent women from accessing these services and the problems women report getting the help they need. However, little is known about what happens in situ when women interact with support services. This paper is a novel empirical investigation of naturalistic social interactions where women seek help with problems resulting from violence at home. We used conversation analysis to examine how problems of housing instability and help-seeking unfolded in recorded telephone calls to a victim support service. We found that the routine institutional practice of asking for an address posed interactional trouble for women who were seeking to leave violence, had left a violent home, or were homeless as a result of violence. When answers could not be provided, callers’ responses included disclosures of violence or challenges to the meanings of address. Our findings point to an interactional burden that women confront in institutional interactions. We suggest institutions should carefully consider how routine practices such as asking for an address might pose unintended problems for service users in vulnerable circumstances.
  • Queer utopias of housing and homelessness

    Carr, Helen; Cooper, Adi; England, Edith; Matthews, Peter; Taylor, Gill; Tunåker, Carin; University of Southampton; University of Bedfordshire; Cardiff Metropolitan University; University of Stirling; et al. (Taylor and Francis, 2022-12-15)
    While there is evidence that discrimination against LGBTQ + people can cause homelessness, or worsen experiences, in this paper we consider law, policy and practice to tackle homelessness among LGBTQ + people. Contrasting the different legal systems across the UK nations of England, Scotland and Wales, we firstly consider how law, as structured around the norm of the heterosexual nuclear family, can be designed to discriminate against LGBTQ + people. Turning to practice within organisations tackling homelessness, we then present evidence on how support can be explicitly, or inadvertently, discriminatory while trying to be well-intentioned. Evidence from an organisation that has embedded LGBTQ + inclusion into its services offers a best practice alternative. We conclude, using utopia as a method, by suggesting that a full respect for LGBTQ + lives in homelessness law and policy should ‘queer’ it, making it more inclusive and producing better outcomes for all people experiencing homelessness.
  • Moving from ‘what we know works’ to ‘what we do in practice’: an evidence overview of implementation and diffusion of innovation in transition to adulthood for care experienced young people

    Alderson, Hayley; Smart, Deborah; Kerridge, Gary; Currie, Graeme; Johnson, Rebecca; Kaner, Eileen; Lynch, Amy; Munro, Emily; Swan, Jacky; McGovern, Ruth (Wiley, 2023-02-01)
    Global research has shown that most young people who are care experienced are not prepared to transition to independent living at 18 years of age and require support into early adulthood. We used rigorous systematic methods to identify English-based peer reviewed and grey literature describing innovations relevant to care experienced youngpeople as they transition into adulthood, with a focus upon lessons for their implementation and diffusion. We synthesised the evidence narratively and organise data linked to seven key areas important to the transition to adulthood: (1) Health and well-being;(2) relationships; (3) education and training; (4) employment; (5) participation in society;(6) accommodation; (7) other. Twenty-five papers met our inclusion criteria. This review has found that, whilst there are a broad spectrum of innovations taking place within the social care environment for care experienced young people to support their transition into adulthood, there exists limited insight into how best to support implementation and diffusion of evidence-based innovation. We drew upon the ‘ConsolidatedFramework for Implementation Research’, developed in the setting of clinical service delivery, to highlight challenges in implementing and diffusing evidence-based innovation for care experienced young people transitioning into adulthood.
  • Mental health disorders and recidivism among incarcerated adult offenders in a correctional facility in South Africa: a cluster analysis.

    Shishane, Kwanele; John-Langba, Johannes; Onifade, Eyitayo; ; University of Bedfordshire; University of KwaZulu-Natal; Clark Atlanta University (Plos One, 2023-01-19)
    The contribution of mental illness, substance use, and appetitive aggression to recidivism has significant policy and practice implications. Offenders with untreated mental illness have a higher recidivism rate and a greater number of criminogenic risk factors than those without mental illness. Previous research has demonstrated that the likelihood of appetitive aggression increases in violent contexts where individuals perpetrate aggressive acts. Using the Ecological Systems Theory, this study investigated the association between mental health disorders and recidivism among incarcerated adult offenders in South Africa, and the intervening role of appetitive aggression and substance use. Using a cross-sectional quantitative research design, a sample of 280 incarcerated male and female adult offenders aged 18-35 with no known psychiatric disorders were sampled at a correctional facility in South Africa. The re-incarceration rate, mental health disorders, substance use, and appetitive aggression symptomology were assessed using the Hopkins symptoms checklist, the CRAFFT measure of substance use, and the appetitive aggression scale. Findings indicate a 32.4% recidivism rate (n = 82). Cluster analysis indicated that the combination of anxiety, depression, substance use, and appetitive aggression increased the likelihood of recidivism. Appetitive aggression median differences between clusters 2 and 3 played a key role in distinguishing recidivism risk among recidivist and non-recidivist participants. Chi-square analysis highlighted group differences in education levels among the established clusters [x2 (3, n = 217) = 12.832, p = .005, which is < .05] as well as group differences in the type of criminal offence [x2 (3, n = 187) = 24.362, p = .000, which is < .05] and cluster membership. Combined factors that increase the likelihood of recidivism provide a typology for classifying offenders based on particular recidivism risk determinants, which offers insights for developing tailored interventions that address a combination of factors.
  • Promising programmes to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse and exploitation

    Radford, Lorraine; Allnock, Debra; Hynes, Patricia; Unicef; University of Central Lancashire; University of Bedfordshire (Unicef, 2015-12-31)
    The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has estimated that 120 million girls globally under the age of 20 (about 1 in 10) have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts. Girls typically report rates of sexual abuse at least three times higher than rates reported by boys, although boys are also at risk. Child sexual abuse and exploitation is a widespread problem with significant adverse consequences for children’s health, well-being and life chances. Nearly half of adolescent girls experiencing sexual abuse never tell anyone; 7 out of 10 never seek help. The global costs of physical, psychological and sexual violence towards children are between 3–8 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The 'virtuous' cycle of parental empowerment: partnering with parents to safeguard young people from exploitation

    Hickle, Kristine; Shuker, Lucie; University of Sussex; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2022-11-18)
    When young people are sexually exploited, parents and professionals alike can feel uncertain about how to balance the need to protect the child's rights to agency and autonomy while also reducing the risk of harm. Despite the shared interest in keeping young people safe, there remains a substantial gap in the research literature about how practitioners engage parents to increase capacity to safeguard their children, particularly within the context of a child protection system ill-equipped to address forms of extrafamilial harm such as child sexual exploitation. This paper aims to contribute to understanding how professionals effectively engage parents by drawing upon evidence from research evaluations of two programmes in rural/urban North and urban South locations in England, both providing specialist support to parents/carers of sexually exploited children and young people. Through interrogating elements of effective support work evidenced across both programmes, a set of emerging key themes are presented, proposing that parent support and engagement can create a ‘virtuous’ cycle, whereby families are strengthened and are better able to protect their children from sexual exploitation and other forms of extrafamilial harm.

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