Strengthening participatory practice with children and young people affected by sexual violence

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The Our Voices Research and Practice Network

Last updated: Tue 03, 2017

The Our Voices Research and Practice Network is a European network that seeks to develop a better understanding of the value and ethics of participatory engagement with young people affected by sexual violence. The network is coordinated by the International Centre: researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking (IC) at the University of Bedfordshire in the UK. The network has been set up to support researchers and practitioners working with young people affected by sexual violence across Europe.

The network provides an avenue for sharing and generating learning. It aims to develop a clearer understanding of the benefits and challenges of safe, ethical, participatory engagement through:

  • Building a supportive community of professionals who are interested in sharing and exploring their own learning and practice
  • Coordinating online activities and events that critically explore participatory research and practice and create a space for dialogue 
  • Documenting learning and building an evidence-base to help better understand the benefits and challenges of participatory engagement for young people affected by sexual violence
  • Informing and influencing related policy and practice

Why do we need a network?

Past projects and events co-ordinated by the IC have surfaced a number of challenges that can prevent professionals from engaging in participatory research and practice with young people affected by sexual violence. This includes:

  • Professionals not always feeling they have the confidence, skills, support and resources to develop participatory practice
  • Organisations and research institutes tending to be risk-averse when it comes to working with young people affected by sexual violence.

Professionals want to have access to safe spaces to discuss, share and learn with their peers. The Our Voices Research and Practice Network aims to address these barriers and provide this supportive community.

Who can join?

The network is targeted at professionals working in Europe who are:

  • Engaged in research or practice with young people affected by sexual violence
  • Developing programmes and projects with young people affected by sexual violence
  • Funding research and projects
  • Developing policy around youth participation and/or sexual violence.

The benefits of joining the network

Joining the Our Voices Research and Practice Network means joining a European regional community of professionals who are interested in participatory, rights-based approach to engaging with young people affected by sexual violence.

Due to the geographical spread of the network, most activities will be online.

In joining the network, members will have access to blogs and a series of online resources and events that will explore various aspects of participatory research and practice.

How can members join?

Members can join the network here.