Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is increasingly being recognised as a concern within the UK, with the recent IICSA (2022) report suggesting that this is a widespread issue which requires further attention. It is recognised that incidences, remain under-reported, and though we are beginning to understand more about victim experiences, there remains a gap in research when it comes to evidence relating to perpetrators. Perpetrator characteristics have been identified globally, through rapid evidence reviews (Walker et al. 2018), but engagement with and understanding of, perpetrator motivations and characteristics from within the UK remains relatively absent. This is pertinent to the social media/media discourse that has tended to couch this as an explicitly cultural issue; a further element of this research relates to investigating/debunking the myths surrounding these issues. In concrete terms, the research will advance knowledge of causal factors to support professionals to better understand, prevent and respond to the issues present.
This PhD project, will aim to explore perpetrator motivations, the extent to which sexuality and sexual activity is framed by their understandings of childhood, consent, and abuse. The research will make connections with the salience of power – as transmitted through class, gender and economic position, which in turn offers insights into ‘why’ certain forms of CSE are becoming apparent. Perpetrator motivations tied to shared or negotiated understandings of consent, childhood and sexuality will also be explored through the research.
We are therefore seeking to recruit an aspiring PhD student, who will develop this piece of work.
To apply, please submit a formal application through our web site. Your application should include a project proposal of up to 2500 words. Including a literature review, aims, and methodology, which is all referenced appropriately (the reference list does not form part of the word count).