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Grooming Children for Crime: Prof Sean Redmond, Dr Catherine Naughton and Dr Eimear Spain

The Grooming Children for Crime project was designed to give students an opportunity to make a valuable contribution to an on-going research project in the School of Law, the Greentown Project, a project which explores the involvement of children in adult criminal networks. Students were given an opportunity to integrate the multi-disciplinary knowledge gained during their law degree to inform potential legislation to prosecute adults who groom children to commit crimes. Initially, students wrote reflective essays from the perspective of the children who featured in the original Greentown report, and spoke with key youth justice workers. The students therefore obtained a deep understanding of the lived experiences of some of the most vulnerable children in the juvenile justice system. Second, students researched international legislative and policy instruments and worked together to produce a policy document that critically evaluated instruments employed to tackle the global problem of adults grooming children for crime. Specifically, the students examined the instruments to check their utility in relation to the problems presented by the Greentown study. The highlight of the project was the hugely successful students’ presentation of their work, at a meeting hosted by Secretary-General Dr Fergal Lynch and Michelle Shannon, Director of Irish Youth Justice Services in the ministerial boardroom of DCYA.