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  • Writer's pictureJim Nixon

Protecting Our Children and Their Futures with Dr Grace Robinson

Dr Grace Robinson is the Executive Director of Black Box Research and Consultancy Ltd, and a Rights Lab Research Fellow in Modern Slavery Perpetrators and Organised Crime at the University of Nottingham. She completed her Ph.D. research on Urban Street Gangs, Child Criminal Exploitation, and County Lines and regularly shares her research nationally, as a podcast guest, on radio interviews, and on the BBC documentary Inside Out. Grace also acts as a Drugs Expert Witness specialising in Criminal Exploitation, Forced Labour, and County Lines drug supply, and she is a Director of The Lewis Dunne Foundation in Merseyside.

Grace joins me today to discuss her motivation for researching child exploitation and why she chose to work in the arena of understanding organised crime and children. She explains the central findings of her research on why children and young people become involved with urban street gangs and fall victim to criminal exploitation and county lines and outlines why the issue of county lines has come to prominence recently. Grace also shares details of her research at the University of Nottingham on the implications of COVID-19 for child criminal exploitation and county lines, the study's aims, and their findings so far.

Hope and patience are critical; change isn’t going to happen overnight - it's about perseverance and constantly providing a safety net for a young person.”- Dr Grace Robinson

Today on The Community Safety Podcast:

● Why young people get caught up in criminal gangs and Grace’s view on the youth offending teams and their processes

● The effects of the devastating drug at the heart of child exploitation

● The role school exclusion plays in the criminalisation of children

● What a day in the life of a child involved in county lines and in running drugs looks like and the youngest child Grace has come across in this terrible situation

● What ‘Cuckooing’ is, how those situations happen and how that affects the children involved in county lines

● Is legalising cannabis the answer? - Grace’s thoughts on how we should tackle drugs in the UK to protect young people and children in the future

● The importance of a trauma-informed approach by practitioners

● How to support and educate children at risk of becoming involved with urban gangs appropriately as early as possible

● How social media is being used to lure and recruit young people to county lines

● Grace’s company Black Box Research and Consulting, and the importance of her work as an expert witness

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