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Children’s Rights Along the Journey from Victims to Survivors

This research project is exploring ‘Children’s Rights along the Journey from Victim to Survivor’, focusing on child victims of sexual offences. This is a joint project between UCLan and Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tamil Nadu, India, and is funded under the UKIERI Programme of the British Council/UGC. The research aims to identify good practice in the UK and India in relation to the rights of children and young people who have experienced sexual violence and abuse, and to explore the strengths and weaknesses of existing services and policies.

This project involves a team from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK working together with a team based at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tamil Nadu, India. The project is funded under the UKIERI programme.

The project aims:

  • To examine the implementation of children’s rights in relation to criminal justice system responses to child victims of sexual offences in India and the UK.
  • To critically analyse the enforceability of children’s rights legislation, and examine if there is a remedy for child victims if these rights are violated.
  • To devise, identify and develop a framework for legislation and good practice to translate these rights into enforceable obligations, including training for criminal justice system professionals working with child victims of sexual offences.

The project involves several visits between the UK and India teams, and will lead to the production of a range of reports, documents and materials, including a training/CPD module for criminal justice professionals. You can keep up with our activities on this webpage.

Project Lead/Contact

The project is led by Professor Helen Codd (UCLan) and Dr. Beulah Shekhar (MSU).

Project Staff

At UCLan: Professor Helen Codd; Professor Nigel Thomas; Dr. Dianne Scullion
At MSU: Dr. Beulah Shekhar; Dr. Vijaya Somasundaram; Dr. Anatharamakrishnan Senthivel

Clients or Funders




Further Information

For further information about the project, please contact Professor Helen Codd ( or Dr. Beulah Shekhar (

The team

Dr. Beulah Shekhar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Sciences; Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, India. She is Co-Coordinator of UGC-sponsored programs on Victimology & Victim Assistance and Human Rights & Duties Education. Her work focuses on developing partnerships between researchers, policymakers, program developers, agency personnel, and other community groups. She was invited as an individual expert at the 12th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, in Brazil and was part of the Delegation of the World Society of Victimology to the Crime Commission at Vienna in May 2011 and the UN preparatory meeting at San Jose, Costa Rica in February 2014. She has been awarded a number of prestigious fellowships, including the Indo-Hungarian fellowship in 2010, and was a visiting researcher at the University of Montreal in 2011. She was the recipient of the Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship 2013- 2014 and a Fulbright Fellowship 2014 -2015, working at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York. She has been the director of CHILDLINE in India, has worked with child victims of sexual abuse, and has produced 3 CDs about the plight of child victims of sexual offences. She has published widely on the long term impacts of victimisation.

Professor Helen Codd, Professor of Law & Social Justice at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, has an extensive record of research and publications in relation to criminal justice and penal/social policy. Since 2005 she has been an Associate Research Fellow at the University of London Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) and is a Fellow of the RSA. She currently teaches modules in Criminal Law, Sentencing and Criminology, and leads a specialist module on the Criminal law relating to Sexual and Violent Offences. She has over twenty years' experience of unpaid work with NGO's working with vulnerable people, particularly women and children, and since 2013 has been a Lay Advisor to the Lancashire Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Strategic Management Board, appointed by the Ministry of Justice. She has recently (with Dr. Karen Harrison of Hull University) conducted a pilot study of sex offenders' residency. During the last two years she has given invited papers and presentations on criminal justice and human rights issues to audiences of academics and policy-makers in in India, Bangladesh, Uganda, Mauritius and the US.

Professor Nigel Thomas is Professor of Childhood and Youth Research at the University of Central Lancashire, where he is Co-Director of The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation, and also a Visiting Professor at Southern Cross University in Australia and an Honorary Professor at Aberystwyth University. He was previously a social work practitioner, manager and advisor, and then a social work educator. Nigel’s research interests are principally in child welfare, children’s rights, children’s participation and theories of childhood. His publications include Children, Family and the State: Decision-Making and Child Participation (Macmillan 2000, Policy Press 2002); Social Work with Young People in Care (Palgrave 2005); Children, Politics and Communication: Participation at the Margins (Policy Press 2009); and A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation: perspectives from theory and practice (with Barry Percy-Smith, Routledge 2010). He is Chair of the Editorial Board of Children & Society, and is on the Editorial Board of The International Journal of Children’s Rights.

Dr. Dianne Scullion, Lecturer in Law at the University of Central Lancashire, holds an LL.B (Hons) degree in Law from the University of Liverpool (2006) and a PhD, entitled ‘A Critical Analysis of Legal Responses to Child Trafficking: A Case Study of Child Domestic Work’ (University of Liverpool, 2011). She has having previously taught at Liverpool Law School, University of Liverpool. Dianne’s published research has centred on child trafficking considering the transnational nature of trafficking and the involvement of both criminal organisations and the more informal methods used. She has presented papers at numerous national and international conferences on these subjects, supervises a number of postgraduate students, and currently leads a postgraduate module on children’s rights and the law.

Dr. Vijaya Somasundaram is an experienced lecturer and researcher who is currently conducting a victimisation survey of adolescents in three southern districts of Tamil Nadu. Aspects of victimisation surveyed include conventional criminal victimisation, child maltreatment, peer and group victimisation, sexual abuse and secondary victimisation. She has extensive experience of working with criminal justice professionals and NGOs and has delivered invited papers at a number of national and international conferences.

Dr. Anantharamakrishnan Senthivel is a lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice and his doctoral thesis is in the area of child victims of domestic violence. He has almost five years experience in the area of child rights, as part of a reputed NGO. He is also involved in the training of criminal justice professionals. He was Lecturer In Human Rights Education, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli 2011 to March 2014, and prior to that was Zonal Coordinator in the Institute of Human Rights Education of People’s Watch, Madurai. He was the recipient of a Canadian fellowship of the International Human Rights Training Program and was an invited fellow at John Abbott College, Quebec, Canada during the summer of 2014.