Strengthening participatory practice with children and young people affected by sexual violence
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.
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.
Categories:Young People's Reflections
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.