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.
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.
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.
Join us online on the 24th November at 10am GMT for our Postgraduate student network forum!
Join us online on Wednesday 6 October at 10am BST/11am CET to hear all about ‘Small Steps Can Make a Big Difference’ - a collaborative pilot project being undertaken by the Safer Young Lives Research Centre (SYLRC) at the University of Bedfordshire and NGO Different and Equal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The International Centre: researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking (IC) at the University of Bedfordshire in the UK are seeking to appoint an influencing and communications consultant.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
We would like to share findings from a participatory study on supporting mental health and wellbeing after sexual abuse in adolescence conducted by colleagues from 'The International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking', University of Bedfordshire.
This blog shares considerations for meaningfully involving young people in advocacy on sexual violence, and in participatory research and practice more broadly.
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!
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
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?
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.
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.
This 'call for evidence' hopes to identify information and materials which explore participatory peer support models with young people who have experienced sexual violence.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Two members of our Young Researchers’ Advisory Panel recently spoke at a BASPCAN conference about the importance of involving young people in research and the possible benefits and limitations of this. In this blog Abbie Rodgers, one of the presenters, reflects on this experience.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the 17th November 2017 the LEAP project came to an end. This blog, written by Kate D'Arcy the Project Coordinator for LEAP, shares what has been developed as a result of this two year European project.
Join this webinar on Friday 1st December to hear Dr Silvie Bovarnick and Dr Helen Beckett from the International Centre at the University of Bedfordshire talking about why and how we should engage children and young people in participatory research on sexual violence.
We consulted with the International Centre’s Young Researchers’ Advisory Panel to identify with them key aspects of peer support in helping us think about what peer support for young people affected by sexual violence should look like. This blog outlines the key points that emerged from this initial discussion.
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.
Group work with young people affected by sexual violence is currently under-theorised. Having a better understanding of feminist, trauma and empowerment theories may help us to better understand the true potential of group work with young people affected by sexual violence.
This week tbe International Centre's blog features a very interesting reflective piece on a recent event that looked at closing the gap between policy commitments to listen to young people affected by CSE, and practice on the ground.
The LEAP project is a European project which aims to support children and young people affected by sexual violence by strengthening and facilitating participatory practice. It is running from 2015-2017, and is part of the Our Voices programme of work.
Listening in on a community of practice developing participatory work with children and young people affected by sexual violence.
This blog post introduces a poster, designed by a group of young people, for police officers, which outlines small steps the police can take when working with young people affected by child sexual exploitation (CSE), other forms of sexual abuse and associated vulnerabilities in adolescence.
This week Claire Cody writes about the launch of a new network that focuses on the ethics and value of participatory engagement with young people affected by sexual violence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The International Centre is currently coordinating a two-year project, funded by the European Commission, which seeks to develop knowledge, skills and understanding of a child rights approach to safe and ethical participatory practice.
Our Voices collaborate with youth advisors on a film and poster project to raise awareness of sexual violence in Albania.
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.
Over the summer of 2015 researchers from the International Centre asked 45 children and young people across England, who had come into contact with the police because of safeguarding concerns, to tell us what the police did well and what they needed to do better.
Jenny Pearce is the Co-Director of the International Centre. In this post she shares some reflections on the value of co-presenting with young people, after her experience of doing so at the Blast conference with a young man called Greg.
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.
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.
The webinar will take place on 18th November 2015, 11am UK time.
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.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child are writing a General Comment on the rights of adolescents, fill in this survey and take your opportunity to shape what the General Comment will say.
The Coventry Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Advisory Board was formed in March 2015 and we were invited to take part by different people and through adverts seen in the city.
In the summer of 2014 as part of the 'Our Voices' project, the project team at the University of Bedfordshire, together with country partner projects, organised a number of consultations with Youth Advisors across Albania, Bulgaria and the UK.
This webinar will introduce the Make-IT-Safe project and explore how young people got involved in preventing online abuse and exploitation.
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.
A journal of good practices of child and youth initiatives in the prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of children.
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.
During this meeting the 'Our Voices' project was introduced and the Youth Advisors messages shared with the delegates.
The 'Our Voices' Network is hosting a series of webinars on the theme 'young people participating to prevent sexual violence'.
The day will highlight the need for more awareness raising and better protection and prevention efforts to address child sexual exploitation and abuse.
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.
The committee welcome submissions for presentations by scholars and practitioners that relate to participatory practice with young people affected by sexual violence.
This report documents and reflects on the first meeting of Reference and Dissemination Group meeting for the 'Our Voices' project which took place in December 2014.
This Peer Support Programme used peer-to peer education to build young people's capacity to lead and manage projects and contribute to decision-making.
Feminist activists have been using the months of April and May to raise awareness about sexual assault. We would like to hear how young feminists from around the world work to raise awareness.
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!
AVA is really excited to have been commissioned to recruit and facilitate an External Reference Group of young people who have been affected by child abuse and neglect.
A new survey created by young people for young people to gather information to support a new project focussing on peer support designed by young people in the UK.
An interdisciplinary conference exploring young people's participation, sexual violence and ethics will take place at Cumberland Lodge in autumn 2015.
The Gender Violence and Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is creating a network of partners working on issues around the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, who are interested in exploring social norms and structural factors that may drive vulnerability.
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.
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.
Contribute to the future work of ‘Our Voices’ by taking 10 minutes to complete this online survey; the aim of this survey is to gather information on how organisations are currently involving young people in efforts to prevent sexual violence.
This seminar will draw upon a range of research conducted by staff at 'The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking' at the University of Bedfordshire to share knowledge about the issue of CSE within the UK and to consider effective measures for tackling it.
The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking are recruiting a part time Principal Research Fellow to work on 'Our Voices'.
For the past four years Carlene Firmin, a Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre, has written a monthly column for Society Guardian, now she thinks it's time for a change and is looking to find a young person to take over her column.
A number of young people working with 'Our Voices' project partners have been involved in consultations to provide feedback on the draft child-friendly version of the Council of Europe's Lanzarote Convention.
Partner project staff are facilitating a number of workshops that aim to understand what young people in the UK, Bulgaria and Albania think about sexual violence prevention.
The association Kairos uses technology to prevent young people's engagement in risk-taking behaviour. They are looking for input from young people.
Rape Crisis centres in Scotland are engaging with young people in schools and youth groups around the country to talk about issues such as consent, gender, social media and sexualisation.
In July a group representing the University of Bedfordshire travelled to Caux on Lake Geneva to attend the Children as Actors for Transforming Society Conference (CATS).
The 'Our Voices' workshop asked participants to work in groups to discuss a number of barriers and challenges to involving young people affected by sexual violence in prevention work. A number of suggestions were shared.
All the work we do at BLAST is participatory as we always keep boys and young men at the heart of our practice. Young men guide us to the support they need and how this can best be achieved.
This training guide provides learning materials for those working with young people who have experienced violence.
This assessment tool has been developed to provide indicators with which States can begin to measure progress in implementing recommendations on the participation of children and young people.
In this webinar guest speakers will share their experiences of motivating young people to take part in sexual violence prevention work.
About a year ago I had two female clients A and C, aged 15 and 16 who had completed their 'journey', they had been to court and were ending their time with me as their ISVA. Separately both clients requested that as part of their healing they support SECOS in helping other young people prepare for court.
Eighteen And Under have a shadow management group consisting of young people. These young people assist in the running and management of the organisation.
A project worker shares her experiences of supporting young women involved in a national participatory project.
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.
The NWG Network: Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (NWG) are currently looking for expressions of interest from young people to form a Youth Advisory Panel.
A six-part guide on how to monitor and evaluate children's participation in programmes, communities and in wider society.
NWG Network would like to get feedback from young people about their campaign to raise awareness about sexual exploitation in the UK.
A guest blog post exploring the importance of involving young people affected by sexual violence in efforts to prevent abuse and exploitation.