Skip to content

The Research

‘Keeping Safe?’ was a mixed-method research project lasting three years, involving young people, foster carers, social workers and residential workers.
The project also included analysis of local authority case files and six weeks spent in a residential children’s home. 


The original aim of the research was to explore the outcomes of work supporting young people who were at risk of or being abused through sexual exploitation. We wanted to understand how people responded, the impacts of actions taken, the challenges and dilemmas involved in safeguarding for carers and professionals, and how this can all be experienced by young people.


What we found was a troubling picture about the life experiences for young people involved with social services. We found that key messages about support, responses, challenges and dilemmas, related as much to the wider context of safeguarding and for young people in general, as they did to specific responses to child sexual exploitation.  

Who was involved

The research was conducted by a team of researcher at Cardiff University, in the School of Sciences and CASCADE.

We were supported by a local authority to be able to do the research. We involved young people from Voices from Care through a steering group. They helped us think through plans for the research, ethics and to talk about our findings. They also helped us design the animated film to share messages from the research to other young people. We involved key people from policing, health, social work, the third sector, education and the Government through an advisory group. They helped us think through the research findings and contributed to the development of the Check your thinking materials. (Thanks again everyone!)

This research was funded by Health and Care Research Wales.