Working Title of PhD: Group associated child sexual exploitation: Exploring the connections
Year commenced PhD study: 2014
Funding Source: GCU studentship
Full or part-time: Full time
PhD Supervisors: Prof. Lesley McMillan and Dr. Annette Robertson
Synopsis: This doctoral project focuses on the sexual exploitation of children and young people which has been increasingly recognised as a pressing justice, welfare and social policy issue.
The central aim of this doctoral research is to provide a greater understanding of groups involved in the sexual exploitation of children and young people in the UK. It will explore the types of victim and perpetrator groups involved, as well their structure and organisation. The nature of the connections in and between groups and the purpose these serve will also be examined.
The research will use a collective case study approach, drawing on data from police forces in England. Purposive sampling will identify a number of cases involving groups of perpetrators and victims. Using qualitative social network analysis, I hope to move beyond charting and centrality metrics to identify patterns within and between groups and networks in terms of their structure and organisation, to illustrate the nature and purpose of the relationships that exist within them, and to explore the contexts in which these groups are established, maintained and broken. In doing so, I hope to be able to identify typicality and uniqueness in groups and networks, gaps in knowledge and understanding, and implications for practice.