Blog

Posted: Thu Sep, 2016

Investing in young people, not just in their voices: Reflections from the Small Steps project in Albania

Posted: Fri Nov, 2021

Author: Dr Silvie Bovarnick, Research Fellow at the Safer Young Lives Research Centre. 4 min read

This blog captures some of the practical learning from ‘Small Steps Can Make a Big Difference’ – a youth participatory action research (YPAR) project. It explores some of the benefits and challenges of undertaking this type of research, how to work with and embrace these challenges, and lessons learned along the way.

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Children’s participation in addressing sexual violence: definitions, guilt and creating space for conversations about imperfect practice

Posted: Fri Nov, 2021

Author: Dr Camille Warrington, Senior Research Fellow and Participation Lead at the Safer Young Lives Research Centre. 4 min read

This blog discusses the concept of participation, why definitions matter, and the importance of tools and frameworks as supporting how we work in this space and helping us to critically reflect on our participatory research practice.

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Exploring the recovery and reintegration context in Zimbabwe

Posted: Fri Nov, 2021

Author: Trudy Nyakambangwe, Director of the Charity Child and Youth Care, in Zimbabwe and PhD student at Women’s University in Africa. 4 min read

This blog provides context and rationale for a research study being undertaken on the recovery and reintegration experiences of children and young people affected by child sexual exploitation in Zimbabwe. It highlights the particular significance of Covid-19 on the lives of children and young people.

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Blog: Working reflexively to foster children’s safety in violence research

Posted: Tue Aug, 2021

Author: Associate Professor Tim Moore, Deputy Director (Practice Solutions) at the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia. 4 min read

This blog explores the responsibilities of researchers in balancing children and young people’s rights to participation and to protection. The strategy of 'ethical reflexivity' is introduced as a way to provide researchers with the means to identify and respond to ethical challenges when working with children and young people affected by violence.

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Blog: UNESCO Youth as Researchers: A case for consideration

Posted: Tue Aug, 2021

Author: Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Youth and Civic Engagement. 4 min read

This blog makes a clear and convincing argument for why children and youth should be active agents in setting research agendas, co-working and leading aspects of research projects and being involved with the development and dissemination of research outputs.

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Blog - Involving experts by experience in the Delphi study

Posted: Mon Mar, 2021

Author: Claire Cody

In recognising the wide spectrum of experiences, knowledge and insights we want to capture in the Delphi study, one of the key groups of experts we hope to engage are those with lived experience of CSA/E. In thinking about what we need to consider when involving 'experts by experience’, we consulted with our Young Researchers’ Advisory Panel (YRAP) to garner their thoughts and advice.

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Blog: An update on the Our Voices University Network: challenging sexual violence against children and youth (OVUN)

Posted: Tue Mar, 2021

Author: Claire Soares and Jenny Pearce

As part of the Our Voices III project, we are developing the 'Our Voices University Network: challenging sexual violence against children and youth' (OVUN). The OVUN is a global network of researchers committed to ethical, child-centred research to improve identification, prevention and response efforts for children and young people affected by child sexual violence. In this blog, you can hear what we've been up to so far, meet the leadership team, hear what our next steps are and how you can get involved.  

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Blog: Who is an expert? Consulting with our Young Researchers’ Advisory Panel

Posted: Thu Feb, 2021

Author: Claire Cody

As part of the Our Voices III project, the team at the International Centre (IC) are undertaking a Delphi study to develop consensus on whether and how a participatory approach may add value to efforts to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSA/E). One of the first design decisions in setting up a Delphi study is to determine who has expertise on the topic under investigation. To help us consider this, we asked the IC’s Young Researchers’ Advisory Panel (YRAP) to share their perspectives on the groups of people they think are significant to young people affected by CSA/E. This blog, the first of two, shares some of the conversations and reflections that emerged from these discussions.

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Blog - What is a Delphi study and why are we doing one?

Posted: Tue Nov, 2020

Author: Claire Cody

The International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking (IC) has been awarded a three-year grant from the Oak Foundation to coordinate the ‘Our Voices III’ project. This project builds on earlier work funded by Oak Foundation and Tides Foundation and involves a number of activities that aim to reduce child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSA/E) and improve responses by developing, evidencing and championing, ethical child-centred practice and research. One strand of this work includes the implementation of a study using the Delphi technique. In this blog Claire Cody, who will be leading on the Delphi study, outlines what a Delphi is and why the team are undertaking one.

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Blog: Key learning on the implementation of a youth advocacy project addressing sexual violence

Posted: Mon Aug, 2020

Author: Silvie Bovarnick and Claire Cody

Since 2018 the International Centre: researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking at the University of Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom has been working in partnership with Different & Equal in Albania; the National Center for Child Abuse Prevention (NCCAP) in Moldova and ATINA in Serbia. Facilitators from each organisation have worked together with young people affected by sexual violence who have designed, organised and facilitated a number of advocacy activities addressing this issue in their countries. This blog summarises key learning from the implementation of this project.

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Blog: Peer support for young people affected by sexual violence?

Posted: Wed Jun, 2020

Author: Claire Cody

Stephanie Drew Davies

‘Peer support’ is recognised as an important part of a trauma-informed response, so why are we not seeing more opportunities for peer support among young people affected by sexual violence?  This blog looks at some of the challenges and tensions identified in implementing peer support initiatives in this field.

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Blog: Outputs and activities developed by Youth Advocates as part of the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project

Posted: Thu Feb, 2020

Author: Claire Cody

Since 2018 the International Centre has been working on the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project in partnership with three national NGOs in Europe: Different & Equal in Albania; the National Center for Child Abuse Prevention (NCCAP) in Moldova and ATINA in Serbia. Each organisation has worked with Youth Advocates who have designed, organised and facilitated a number of advocacy activities.

As the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project is now wrapping up, we wanted to share with you some of the fantastic resources that were developed by the Youth Advocates involved in this project.

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Webinar: Ethical considerations for universities working with children challenging sexual violence against children

Posted: Thu Jan, 2020

Author: Jenny Pearce

3rd February 2020 at 2pm (UK time)

A key topic of interest that emerged from scoping undertaken as part of the development of the University Network Children Challenging Sexual Violence (CCSV) is the need for standardised ethical guidance for doing participatory research with children and young people on sexual violence against children. 

In this webinar, members of the network will share examples from their practice to explore how existing guidance, which is predominantly informed by Western-centric protocols, may need developing for participatory research embracing issues facing low and middle income countries. 


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Blog: Youth Advocates from Moldova share their reflections on participating in the ‘Our Voices Too’ Project

Posted: Tue Nov, 2019

Author: Youth Advocates from Moldova

The 'Our Voices Too' project is coordinated by ‘The International Centre, researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’ (IC) at the University of Bedfordshire in the UK and funded by the Oak Foundation.

As part of the ‘Our Voices Too’ project, the IC is working in partnership with three national NGOs in Europe: Different & Equal in Albania; the National Center for Child Abuse Prevention (NCCAP) in Moldova and ATINA in Serbia. Each organisation is implementing participatory advocacy activities in their respective countries with young people affected by sexual violence.  In this blog all five Youth Advocates from Moldova share their reflections and experiences of taking part in the project.

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Blog: "I am proud to be part of the ‘Our Voices Too’ Project". A Youth Advocate from Albania shares her experiences of taking part in our Youth Advocacy Project

Posted: Tue Nov, 2019

Author: Ada

The 'Our Voices Too' project is coordinated by ‘The International Centre, researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’ (IC) at the University of Bedfordshire in the UK and funded by the Oak Foundation.

As part of the ‘Our Voices Too’ project, the IC is working in partnership with three national NGOs in Europe: Different & Equal in Albania; the National Center for Child Abuse Prevention (NCCAP) in Moldova and ATINA in Serbia. Each organisation is implementing participatory advocacy activities in their respective countries with young people affected by sexual violence.  In this blog one of the youth advocates shares her experiences of being involved in the project.

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Webinar - Learning from the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project: Working together with young people with lived experience in sexual violence advocacy activities

Posted: Fri Oct, 2019

Author: Claire Cody

On Monday 18th November, to mark the European Day on the Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, the ‘International Centre, researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’ (IC) at the University of Bedfordshire, in the UK will be sharing findings from the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project

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Blog: Exchanging experiences in Chisinau from the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project

Posted: Thu Oct, 2019

Author: Claire Cody

In early September the Our Voices Too team at the International Centre (IC) organised our second shared learning event in Chisinau, Moldova, for the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project.  This two day meeting brought together our partners - Different & Equal in Albania; the National Center for Child Abuse Prevention (NCCAP) in Moldova and ATINA in Serbia to share learning on how the project has been developing.

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Join our webinar

Posted: Thu Jun, 2019

Author: Delphine Peace

In this webinar, held in collaboration with the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, we will introduce our new University Network to challenge sexual violence against children. There will be time for conversations for members and anyone interested to share ideas for future developments. 

The webinar will take place on Monday 22 July 2019 at 12pm London time

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Child Sexual Exploitation: is it really like the papers say?

Posted: Thu May, 2019

Author:

Join us for this free event on the 13th of June 2019 where staff from our award-winning research centre at the University of Bedfordshire will consider some of the common myths and stereotypes about CSE and see how they hold up in light of what we know about the different forms of CSE taking place within the UK, and the range of people it can affect. 

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University engagement with children, young people and communities to challenge sexual violence against children

Posted: Fri Feb, 2019

Author: Delphine Peace

We are aiming to build a supportive community of academics (researchers, teachers and students) working to promote child centred, participatory and right’s based approaches to challenging sexual violence. Part of this initiative is building connections between universities and other researchers working in this and related fields. We have put together a brief information gathering exercise to identify academics and institutions involved in and/or interested in being part of this developing network.  If you are interested, we would love to hear more about your work!

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Researching with/ for/ about youth and young people: A CGY workshop

Posted: Tue Jan, 2019

Author: Delphine Peace

On the 11th of February, the UCL Centre for Global Youth is organising a second workshop to explore the challenges of researching with/ for/ about youth and young people. This workshop will be an open, informal, and multi-disciplinary forum, involving both presentations from invited speakers, and group discussions among the audience. Find out more and register via this link

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New podcast: Can children and young people ‘do research’ on sexual violence?

Posted: Sat Dec, 2018

Author: Delphine Peace

In this new podcast we share some key findings from the Being Heard report, a review of the international evidence on youth participatory research on sexual violence against children. We focus in particular on a question that researchers and organisations working with young people often grapple with: can vulnerable young people, including those who have been affected by sexual violence, actually 'do research' on such a sensitive topic?

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International evidence on involving young people in participatory research on sexual violence

Posted: Tue Nov, 2018

Author: Silvie Bovarnick and Delphine Peace

Children and young people can provide a unique inside perspective on sexual violence affecting them. Yet, they rarely play a key role in producing knowledge on the issue. The Being Heard report focuses on promoting children and young people’s voices in sexual violence research. It discusses a range of ethical and practical challenges of involving vulnerable children and young people in participatory research on sensitive issues.

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Being Heard webinar: Engaging young people in sexual violence research and events

Posted: Thu Oct, 2018

Author: Delphine Peace

Join our webinar on: 'Being Heard: Engaging young people in sexual violence research and events' on 21 November 2018 at 12:00 GMT to hear about findings from an international review of evidence on youth engagement in participatory research on sexual violence, learn about a toolkit developed by our partners, SVRI, on young people's ethical and meaningful participation at events, and hear about young researchers' experience of the project. 


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Samworth Foundation : Young Voices

Posted: Fri Sep, 2018

Author: Delphine Peace

The Samworth Foundation has launched a new fund calling for organisations who place young people at the centre of their design, decision making and model of delivery to influence and effect change in the prevention of Sexual Exploitation. Deadline for the expression of interest is on the 1st of October 2018.

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Our Voices Too: Welcome to our new partners!

Posted: Thu Jul, 2018

Author: Delphine Peace

Following our scoping visits to Albania, Serbia and Moldova last year, we are delighted to introduce the partner organisations that will implement the Our Voices Too project and we look forward to embarking on the next phase of this innovative project with them!

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Eurochild Conference 2018

Posted: Mon Jul, 2018

Author:

The early bird registration for the Eurochild conference is still available. Participants can benefit from the early bird feels until the 31 July 2018.

The event will bring positive examples of how public decision-makers at local, national and European levels are respecting the right of children to participate in decisions affecting them. The Conference will host an estimated 250-300 participants including public sector officials, politicians, children’s rights professionals and children and  young people.

Find all the information about the Eurochild conference on the dedicated page on Eurochild's website. 

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New podcast: What does participation in CSE services look like?

Posted: Fri May, 2018

Author:

Dr Isabelle Brodie (International Centre) shares findings from a scoping review of the literature she conducted with colleagues from the International Centre on the participation of young people in child sexual exploitation (CSE) services. The review was part of the Alexi Project and can be accessed here. Isabelle speaks about the different meanings of participation, what conditions need to be in place in order to make participative working possible and effective, and shares young people and professionals' views on participation in CSE services; what they value and what they find challenging.

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New participation activity to help young people talk about about sensitive topics

Posted: Fri Apr, 2018

Author:

Our latest participation tool is a dice activity to help young people to talk about sensitive topics by creating case studies of young people’s journey’s following sexual abuse through a ‘third person’ lens. 

Within this activity, participants are asked to draw on their experiences to consider how a fictional child or young person might experience support for mental health and emotional well-being needs following sexual abuse. Creating an initial medium for engagement that is removed from their personal experiences, it also offers a gentler route in for participants to engage in personal reflection about these sensitive and potentially traumatic issues should they wish to do so. 

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Oak Foundation name change competition

Posted: Mon Apr, 2018

Author:

The Oak Foundation are holding a name change competition to rename their child abuse programme (CAP) to reflect their renewed focus on the core mission of preventing child sexual abuse and exploitation. They would like to invite partners and young people who have been involved in the Our Voices programme of work to participate by simply filling out this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/nameourprogramme 

The winner will receive a $5,000 USD contribution to the organisation of their choice.

Please note that the deadline has been extended to Thursday 12 April.

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Join our next online case study discussion on the participation of young people affected by sexual violence at conferences

Posted: Fri Mar, 2018

Author: Delphine Girma

This case study discussion will be based on a number of different experiences of accompanying and supporting young people affected by sexual violence to participate in conferences overseas. It will explore and reflect on different scenarios that have arisen during these trips that predominantly revolve around the age of these young people.

The session wil take place on 22 March at 1pm (UK time).

If you wish to join the session please make sure that you register to join the network and email delphine.girma@beds.ac.uk to reserve a place and receive further details.


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Blog: Engaging young people who have experienced sexual violence in participatory initiatives: reflections from our trip to Moldova

Posted: Wed Feb, 2018

Author: Delphine Girma

This blog reflects on our trip to Moldova as part of the Our Voices Too scoping. Through discussions with organisations and individuals working in the fields of sexual violence, child rights, and participation, we found that Moldova shared some of the same socio-political barriers to participatory work with young people affected by sexual violence that we encountered in our previous visits to Albania and Serbia.

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New podcast on embedding participation

Posted: Thu Feb, 2018

Author: Delphine Girma

Check out our latest podcast on embedding participation with Abi Billinghurst, the founder and director of Abianda, a social enterprise that works with young women affected by gangs. Abi explains how participation is central to the work of Abianda and shares her expertise on embedding participation as a model of practice in various professional cultures. We also talk about how Abianda’s participatory methods are part of a wider contextual approach to working with young people, which acknowledges and addresses the wider contexts of young peoples’ experiences. 

Abi also wrote all the tools for the LEAP Against Sexual Violence project which can be accessed on the Childhub website.

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Key reflections from the Our Voices Partner Meeting

Posted: Tue Dec, 2017

Author: Claire Cody

On the 29-30 November we hosted the Our Voices Partner Meeting in Luton. This event brought together partners and Youth Facilitators from the LEAP project, new partners for the Our Voices Too project, and representatives from youth networks and other organisations in Europe. 23 participants attended the meeting travelling from Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, the UK and the Netherlands.

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Blog: The politics of participation

Posted: Thu Nov, 2017

Author: Claire Cody

This blog reflects on a recent trip to Serbia and explores the importance of exploring the socio-political context when thinking about projects involving children and young people affected by sexual violence.

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What should come first, awareness-raising or action?

Posted: Thu Sep, 2017

Author: Claire Cody and Liz Ackerley

We recently visited Tirana, the capital city of Albania, to talk with professionals and young people about the current responses to sexual violence and the status of child and youth participation in the country.

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"It was a turning point"

Posted: Wed May, 2017

Author: Claire Cody

Listening in on a community of practice developing participatory work with children and young people affected by sexual violence.

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‘Being Heard’ project - Call for evidence

Posted: Thu Mar, 2017

Author: Silvie Bovarnick and Camille Warrington

This 'call for evidence' hopes to identify information and materials which explore participatory approaches to children and young people’s involvement in research and consultation addressing sexual violence.

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How to discuss sexuality, sexual abuse and violence with young people

Posted: Tue Feb, 2017

Author: Kate D'Arcy

When young people have access to information and adults are able to have meaningful conversations with them a strong basis is in place for young people’s participation. However, many professionals are hesitant to discuss healthy sexual development, risky sexual behaviour and sexual violence with young people. Professionals know it’s important, but don’t feel competent to do so. This blog post shares learing from a recent webinar which explored these issues and was hosted as part of the LEAP Project.

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Placing children's voices at the heart of organisations that service them: Lessons from governance with children who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation

Posted: Thu Feb, 2017

Author: Roger Hart, Ayşenur Ataman and Bijan Kimiagar

The purpose of this publication from ECPAT Internationalis to synthesise current thinking on how to best enable the voices of children who have been the subject of exploitation to have roles in the decision making and governance of organisations that are designed to support and advocate for them.

Read the full thematic report here.

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18th November - European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

Posted: Thu Nov, 2016

Author: Kate D'Arcy

Researchers in the International Centre are working on European projectswhich seek to prevent and support children and young people who experience, sexual exploitation and abuse. Kate D'Arcy draws attention to the LEAP project which is celebrating the end of its first year on the European Day for the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.

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Residential with Experts by Experience and Police

Posted: Thu Nov, 2016

Author: Joanne Walker

As part of the International Centre's (IC) CSE and Policing Knowledge Hub the IC are working with both young people and the police to enhance police  responses to child sexual exploitation and related vulnerabilities. Recently the team brought 7 police officers and 12 Experts by Experience together for a weekend in order to develop practical solutions to improve police responses to young people affected by safeguarding issues. in this blog post, Joanne Walker reflects on the recent residential  and some of the key messages that came out of it.

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Young people’s participation in CSE services: messages from a scoping review

Posted: Thu Jul, 2016

Author: Isabelle Brodie

Isabelle Brodie is leading on the participation strand of the Alexi Project, an ambitious strategy developed by the Child Sexual Exploitation Funders’ Alliance (CSEFA). In this post she reflects on some of the key issues emerging from a  scoping review of the literature on participation and CSE which is published this week. You can read the reports here

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Sofia, Bulgaria. Young rapporteurs get to grips with the Lanzarote Convention

Posted: Tue Apr, 2016

Author: Helen Veitch

A core aim of the International Centre is to develop and enhance opportunities for children and young people to meaningfully and ethically engage in, and influence, research, policy and practice. One way in which we hope to do this is through our partnership with The Oak Foundation, an international foundation promoting children’s rights through its Child Abuse Programme. The International Centre and the Oak Foundation are collaborating to support children’s participation in

preventing sexual violence against children in Europe.

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Peer support website developed by young people in the UK

Posted: Mon Jan, 2016

Author: Kirsche & CJ

The peer support website ‘A guide for young people supporting each other’ behealthy-peersupport.org.uk has recently been launched in the UK to provide advice and support to young people who are trying to provide support to friends who may be going through difficult situations such as anxiety, self-harm, sexual abuse and violence.

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Youth Advisors in Bulgaria develop photo exhibition to raise awareness about the need to speak out about sexual violence

Posted: Wed Jan, 2016

Author: Youth Advisors with Gavroche Association

In 2015 the ‘Our Voices’ project secured a small amount of funds to help groups of young people who had been involved in the 'Our Voices' consultations who wanted to take part in a short project. One group of young people in Varna, Bulgaria decided that they would like to develop aphotography exhibition to share messages about sexual violence in their local community.

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Webinar: Involving marginalised young people in preventing sexual exploitation

Posted: Thu Dec, 2015

Author:

The webinar will take place on the 28 October at 2pm UK time and will involve presenters from the organisation Stellit who are based in St Petersburg, Russia. The presenters will discuss a Youth Volunteer Movement that they have been supporting that aims to prevent risky behaviours and raise awareness about sexual violence. They will share details of the movement, the ethical challenges that have arisen from this work, and reflections and recommendations on how to involve young people at risk in peer-to-peer prevention activities.

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Tell us what you're doing!

Posted: Wed Aug, 2015

Author:

As part of this project we want to hear from you! We want to gather information about, and map how young people across Europe are getting involved in sexual violence prevention work.

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ECPAT's Youth Journal

Posted: Tue Aug, 2015

Author:

A journal of good practices of child and youth initiatives in the prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

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Registration now open!

Posted: Tue Jul, 2015

Author:

Registration for the event 'Young people affected by sexual violence as change-makers in prevention efforts: What are the opportunities and what are the risks?' is now open.

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Evaluation of Rape Crisis Scotland's Sexual Violence Prevention Project

Posted: Tue Jun, 2015

Author:

The Sexual Violence Prevention project was set up by Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS) in April 2013. It followed a consultation which identified a need for national support to coordinate and support prevention work with young people in Scotland and to develop a national sexual violence resource pack.

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YouAct Call for Members

Posted: Thu Apr, 2015

Author:

YouAct is a European network of young people, who are active in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Rights. They are looking for new members!

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Having Our Say Too

Posted: Tue Jan, 2015

Author:

Having Our Say Too (HOST) was a two-year UK wide participatory photography project designed and delivered by PhotoVoice between March 2012 and January 2014.

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We believe we can end sexual exploitation!

Posted: Mon Dec, 2014

Author:

Youth Advisors for the 'Our Voices' project, working with the organisation 'Different and Equal' in Albania, wrote an article exploring why and how young people can work together to end child sexual exploitation.

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Responses from the 'call for information'

Posted: Fri Oct, 2014

Author:

We received an impressive number of responses from projects and groups across Europe who shared examples and learning from working with children and young people to prevent sexual violence.

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Recruiting a Principal Research Fellow

Posted: Wed Oct, 2014

Author:

The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking are recruiting a part time Principal Research Fellow to work on 'Our Voices'.

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Young girl leaders in Ukraine fight violence against women and girls

Posted: Thu Jun, 2014

Author:

The main strategy of this project is to empower young girl-leaders to conduct advocacy and awareness-raising among young girls and boys. Currently, many manifestations of violence are not recognised by the majority of young people in Ukraine, and therefore they perceive such violence as normal.

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