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University of East London cyber crimes expert honoured with OBE

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Professor Julia Davidson has spent 15 years working on online harms and victimisation

Professor Julia Davidson, co-director of the University of East London's prestigious Online Harms and Cyber Crime Unit, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Professor Davidson is one of the foremost experts on policy, practice and offending in the area of cyber victimisation and cyber crime and received the honour for services to internet safety.

Professor Davidson said, “I am thrilled to receive this honour and have received such a lot of support and lovely comments from the University of East London and other colleagues. I have known for some time and found it difficult not to tell family, friends and colleagues.”

She announced the news on her Twitter feed on Saturday and was immediately inundated with congratulations. She messaged back, saying, “Thanks so much for all your lovely comments. I’m very fortunate to have such a great network of colleagues.”

Professor Davidson, who is a professor of criminology in the Royal Docks School of Business and Law, began the year launching the Online Harms and Cyber Crime Unit at a VIP event at the House of Lords.

She said, “I have been working in the child protection area for over 30 years and have more recently in the last 15 years worked on online hams and victimisation area.

“This award was made in recognition of that work. I have conducted research spanning 30 years that focuses on improving policy, practice and understanding in the area of child abuse and more recently online harms. 

“I am fortunate to be part of a dedicated network of colleagues working to make the Internet a safer place for children and I'd like to also acknowledge the work of these colleagues.” 

Her current project is indicative of the high-profile nature of her research. She is co-directing an EC H2020 study exploring young people’s pathways into cybercrime and the drivers of cybercrime undertaken in collaboration with partners in eight EU countries. The research is supported by the EC3 and Interpol and aims to develop intervention programmes for young people. 

Professor Amanda Broderick, vice-chancellor and president of the University of East London, said, “We’re thrilled that our colleague Professor Julia Davidson has been awarded an OBE, an accolade that reflects her extensive expertise and personal impact in this important field.

“As part of the University of East London’s Vision 2028 strategy, we are committed to pursuing research that has a meaningful impact on everyday lives - and there can be few more important areas of research than ensuring the protection of children online.”

Professor Julia Davidson’s research work

Professor Julia Davidson has provided expert advice to governments worldwide and national and international organisations such as NICE, the Home Office, UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and the UN ITU. She is Chair of the UK Council for Internet Safety Evidence Group and a member of the Europol EC3 Expert Academic Advisory Group.

She has also acted as an advisor on child online harms and cybercrime to governments and practitioners in the EU, South America, Africa and the MENA region since 2009, recently helping the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Rwandan Government, in collaboration with Baroness Kidron/5Rights, to develop a national child Internet Safety policy Framework and implementation plan.  

She has recently directed a study for the UK Government (DCMS) exploring adult online harms in the context of the White Paper ( Davidson et al 2019)  and has worked on research exploring the development of the safety technology sector in the UK(2020)