The year 2020 may have been a challenging one, but a University of Huddersfield PhD student has had several reasons to celebrate for her academic and professional achievements.
Kate Richardson began the year by being awarded an OBE for her services to law enforcement for the National Crime Agency (NCA), and she ended 2020 close to completing her PhD at the University.
Her work as a Manager of Safeguarding and Disruption in Operation Stovewood, the NCA’s investigation into child sexual abuse in Rotherham, saw her nominated for the OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list late in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic means that Kate has not been able to collect her OBE yet, but there is a chance that 2021 will allow her to enjoy both this excellent achievement and the completion of her PhD.
Supervised by Professors Barry Percy-Smith and Bernard Gallagher, Kate’s PhD is entitled “Access to Justice for Child Victims of CSA in England and Wales; The role of Planning and Assessment in ABE interviewing”.
As part of Operation Stovewood, the largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial child sexual abuse and exploitation, Kate established victim support services and improved management of the safeguarding process.
“What happened in Rotherham resulted in a very public outcry and reaction,” says Kate. “It was the first such scandal to catch media and public attention, with the victims campaigning to get their voices heard, and there was a need for a national response that was different. The learning from Rotherham will permeate current investigations.
“But when I was told about the OBE, I was overwhelmed – it was so unexpected. I was chuffed, I quite like the tradition and it’s a nice thing to have.
“It’s lovely that people took the time to think my work was worth nominating. Hopefully I’ll be a doctor and an OBE by the middle of the year – just my luck to get them in the middle of a pandemic!”