Dr Sarah Colley

Postdoctoral Researcher

International Policing and Public Protection Research Institute

Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Humanities and Social Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Child and sexual abuse and exploitation , Policing , Gendered violence
Research Supervision:

Sarah joined the International Policing and Public Protection Research Institute (IPPPRI) as a Research Fellow in 2023 after completing her PhD at the University of Hull. She worked as a Research Fellow and Research Assistant whilst undertaking her PhD research, and has extensive experience of working with children and young people.

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Sarah completed her PhD in 2023. Her thesis examined the investigation and representation of multi-perpetrator child sexual exploitation (CSE) in England and Wales from a policing perspective.

This piece of research adopted a mixed methods approach and explored the challenges of investigating these crimes, wider criminal justice system issues, and links to organised crime and perpetrator characteristics. The quantitative strand consisted of Freedom of Information (FOI) data on the prevalence of CSE, and specifically multi-perpetrator CSE crimes.

She previously worked as a Research Fellow at the Wilberforce Institute at the University of Hull, was a Project Officer on the Anti-Slavery Usable Past project and a Research Assistant on the HeadStart Hull local evaluation.

Her published work on CSE, to date, includes a co-authored chapter with Dr Emma Stephens on 'The impact of the past on child sexual exploitation' (Colley and Stephens, 2020) as part of the AHRC-funded Anti-Slavery Usable Past project, in addition to an article in the Journal of Sexual Aggression entitled 'Perpetrators of organised child sexual exploitation (CSE) in the UK: a review of current research' (2019).

Sarah has also worked with children and young people for many years, including victim-survivors of CSE. She continues to volunteer for the NSPCC on their ‘Speak out, Stay safe’ schools programme.

Research interests
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Policing
  • Police officer wellbeing
  • Modern slavery
  • Gender based violence
  • Organised crime
  • Researcher wellbeing
Areas of research supervision

Child sexual abuse and exploitation

  • 2023: PhD in Social Justice, University of Hull
  • 2021: Certificate in Good Clinical Practice (GCP)
  • 2015: PG Cert Research Training
  • 2003: Diploma for Connexions Personal Advisers, Nottingham Trent University
  • 1999: BA (Hons). English Literature and Human Geography, Open University
  • 1998: Diploma in Human Geography, Open University
Selected recent publications

White, J., Hardy, S. and Colley, S. (2021) Independent Local Evaluation of HeadStart Hull - Final Report, Hull City Council. Available at: https://hull-repository.worktribe.com/output/3877725

Colley, S. and Stephens, E. (2020) 'The Impact of the Past on Child Sexual Exploitation'. In: Bales, K. and Trodd, Z. (Eds) (2020) Anti-Slavery Usable Past Handbook, Nottingham: The Rights Lab. Available at: https://www.antislavery.ac.uk/ebook

Colley, S. (2019) 'Perpetrators of Organised CSE in the UK: a review of current research', Journal of Sexual Aggression special issue on multiple perpetrator sexual offending, 25(3) pp. 258-274.