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