Peacekeeper or Perpetrator: Safeguarding Children from Sexual Abuse

Elizabeth Faulkner, lecturer in Law, and Charlotte Folkes, PhD student within the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, attended an event called ‘Peacekeeper or Perpetrator: Safeguarding Children from Sexual Abuse’ in London, early November.

Charlotte Folkes writes that “this eye-opening event was part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science and showcased research conducted by Professor Rosa Freedman on how best to safeguard children from sexual abuse committed by UN peacekeepers. The panellists had a broad range of expertise in this field including academic research, policy and military, which gave the discussion depth and insight. It highlighted the challenges that are faced when looking at sexual offences in conflict-zone, especially when they are committed by someone acting in an official capacity.
The event concluded with a photograph exhibition of the field research being conducted in Liberia and Ghana by Professor Rosa Freedman, and gave us the opportunity to network with the presenters and other guests. It was a truly enjoyable event which presented the issue of sexual offending from a different perspective and has given me some further considerations for my own research.”

Elizabeth Faulkner and Charlotte Folkes

Elizabeth Faulkner stated that “the key issues that arose from the event were issues such as defining accountability, the development of reliable gender sensitive pathways and how to effectively amplify the voices of victims. Arguably, there was one comment made that afforded a hint of cultural imperialism, through the assertion that some countries that offer peacekeepers do not approach human rights in the same way that we do, and therefore don’t prosecute. I understand the “we” to refer to the UK and frequently find perceptions like these problematic in light of my own research into the imperialistic and racial undertones of the contemporary anti-slavery movement.

“The event was interesting from the start and provided a unique opportunity for an interdisciplinary discussion to arise between Charlotte and I about sexual violence generally. The personal highlight of the event was meeting the chair of the event, Emeritus Professor Christine Chinkin, London School of Economics (LSE), whose work has had a significant impact upon development from an undergraduate student with an interest in feminism and international law to the academic I am today. Events like this provide not only interesting content but the fantastic opportunity to network with a diverse and dynamic group. Thank you to all who contributed to the organisation of such a wonderful event and to the FCO for hosting.”

The event was organsied by Prof. Rose Freedman of the University of Reading and hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Oiffce in London.


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About lmw2

Dr Laura Walton-Williams is the Course Leader for the Forensic Investigation Degrees at Staffordshire University. Her research interests focus on Forensic Biology, including DNA analysis, body fluid interpretation, sexual offences and blood pattern interpretation.

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