New research projects to tackle key vulnerability and policing challenges

The ESRC Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre has funded four new research projects led by Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to address crucial social issues.

17 April 2024

The projects will focus on policing and climate change, coercive control in honour-based abuse, interventions to help children at risk of going missing multiple times, and identifying child exploitation in Roma communities within Bradford.

The projects were awarded funding from the Centre’s annual Early Career Researcher Development Fund. The fund enables ECRs to lead co-produced pioneering projects that contribute new insights to current and emerging vulnerability and policing challenges.

The 12-month projects will commence in May 2024. Successful applicants receive support from the Centre to maximise the reach and impact of the research.

“We are delighted to fund four new projects from our Early Career Researcher Development Fund”, said Professor Charlie Lloyd, Co-Director of the Centre.

“All of these projects concentrate on essential areas of work that complement our Centre’s research programme and have the potential to lead to positive impacts for services and vulnerable people . We look forward to seeing them get under way and follow the successes of our first cohort of projects.”

Professor Adam Crawford, Co-Director of the Centre, said: “We are immensely pleased that this year’s round of ECR grant funding received such a positive response; there were some outstanding applications submitted.

“A key aim of the fund is to support the next generation of vulnerability and policing researchers. It is exciting to see such a strong field of ECRs and rewarding to be able to assist our awardees in their goals to find evidence-based solutions to social problems.”

Funded projects

Policing and community resilience in the context of climate change

Led by Dr Ali Malik, University of Leeds

This project will examine how the police and local resilience forums understand, prepare for, and respond to climate vulnerability. The research will address gaps in knowledge about the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities. In particular, it will look at how climate change could exacerbate socio-economic inequalities and intersectional disadvantages. The project will also highlight best practices in local capacity-building and response strategies during climate disasters.

Policing collective coercion: improving understandings of coercive control in honour-based violence and abuse

Led by Dr Lis Bates, University of Central Lancashire

This research project will look at how coercive control operates in honour-based violence and abuse (HBVA). HBVA refers to crimes or incidents committed to protect or defend the ‘honour’ of a family or community.

Partnering with national HBVA experts Karma Nirvana, the research will produce new insights about what forms coercive control takes in HBVA and how police identify and respond to it. The project aims to help police improve their understanding and practice in relation to HBVA, and put survivors’ experiences at the centre of that improvement.

Recognising the Risks and Harms for Repeat Missing Children from Different Residential Environments through a Child and Practitioner Lens

Led by Dr Kirsty Bennet, Leeds Trinity University

Dr Bennet aims to co-create interventions to reduce the number of times children repeatedly go missing. The research will examine a wide range of factors such as residential environments, for example, whether a child lives in foster care or with parents or guardians; sociodemographic factors, such as race, age, gender; and personal needs including mental health, disabilities and learning differences.

The project will provide practitioners and children a voice in what support would be effective.

Roma Voices for Change: Identifying and managing child exploitation in Roma communities within Bradford

Led by Dr Sarah Shorrock, University of Bradford

This project will explore how practitioners’ knowledge about Roma culture influences safeguarding practices and processes when identifying and managing child exploitation within Bradford.

Dr Shorrock will examine understandings of child exploitation within Roma communities in Bradford and identify factors that may facilitate or prevent engagement with statutory and third sector support.

The project will develop culturally sensitive information that will help to raise awareness of child exploitation within Roma communities, as well as create culturally competent training materials that can be delivered to safeguarding practitioners in Bradford and at a national level.



Image by Fungai Tichawangana from Pixabay