Centre for Child Protection wins Strategic Prevention Award

CCP wins Strategic Prevention Award

The University’s Centre for Child Protection (CCP) has won a Strategic Prevention Head of Command Award from Kent Police.

At an awards ceremony on 30 November, representatives of the Centre were recognised for their collaborative efforts in the development of ‘Robyn & Molly’, an innovative, trauma informed child sexual exploitation (CSE) training project developed and delivered to Kent Police investigators.

‘Robyn & Molly’ is a pilot simulation training tool promoting trauma informed approaches which is being used to support Kent Police officers with their work in effectively engaging female victims of child sexual exploitation. The training aims to underpin how the police engage with girls who have a lived experience of CSE, ensuring they are not retraumatised and feel comfortable to engage with services to disrupt exploitation and prevent further harm.

The training simulation follows the story of two young girls (Robyn and Molly) who have been sexually exploited through different methods, with officers guided through the incident with training on topics including childhood trauma, push and pull factors that can make a child vulnerable to sexual exploitation and language that can be victim blaming. Advice is also provided to explore how officers would adapt their investigation approach using a trauma lens. The simulation allows participants a safe setting to practice complex or challenging decision-making experiences.

Kent Police recognised CCP’s innovative use of technology, training techniques, dedication to education and positive partnership to improving approaches to trauma informed investigations. The CCP team were commended for their drive and commitment to improving the police response to CSE investigations and supporting Kent Police to help the ‘most vulnerable young victims in Kent’.

The training has been developed and delivered to 77 Kent Police officers through a series of nine training sessions between July and October 2023. The team hopes to publish findings from their evaluation, which so far are positive in showing improvement across all set learning objectives. The next step with future funding will be to create a full-scale simulation from the pilot training tool.

Head of the Centre for Child Protection, Dr Tracee Green, who is also a Core Member and the School Champion (Medway) for SSPSSR of iCSS, said: ‘We are delighted to have been presented with a Strategic Prevention Head of Command Award from Kent Police for this partnership project. Sexual crimes against children have risen, and exploitation is such an important child protection topic where intervention and change is required. Working in partnership with Kent Police on this training has been beneficial to all involved, with knowledge sharing playing a big role in improving police response to CSE investigations. We look forward to seeing how we can develop the training programme further and hope to see its use embedded in local police training practices while we consider expanding delivery nationally. We are grateful for the ESRC funding which made this project possible.’