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Violence Prevention and Protection for Children and Young People

The Research Team led by Professor Nicky Stanley and Professor Christine Barter, Co-Directors of the Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm, established in 2013, focuses on how to prevent and respond to violence and abuse in the lives of young people and children.

The team examines the knowledge gaps relating to the extent, hidden nature and diversity of children’s and young people’s experiences of violence and abuse. They also investigate prevention strategies, approaches and effective responses to this type of harmful behaviour, including the work of social workers, health professionals, the police and the independent sector. 

Their research has had impact in three main areas. Firstly, in 2020, following the team’s expert advice to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in Schools, Relationships and Sex Education has been introduced in all schools across England and Wales. This has impacted on over nine million children. Secondly, the work has helped to significantly strengthen social care and health responses to children experiencing violence by improving guidance, training and service innovation. It has also contributed to the wide-reaching National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on domestic violence and abuse. 

The team’s work on interpersonal violence and abuse in young people’s relationships informed a central objective of a £5,000,000 programme with elite football clubs and BBC Children in Need. Breaking the Cycle of Youth Violence focussed on supporting young people’s interpersonal relationships and is currently being delivered to over 600,000 young people. 

Thirdly, the team’s work has achieved significant national and international impact through the development of child protection strategies and monitoring systems in Scotland, Iceland and Australia and globally, through UNICEF and the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. The research team has worked with international violence prevention organisations and child abuse inquiries. They have informed UNICEF’s global data collection activities which feed into policymaking and implementation, producing important benchmarks and measuring change. 

Academic expertise