Involving young people affected by sexual violence in efforts to prevent sexual violence in Europe: what is required?

Claire Cody & Kate D'Arcy

Child in Care Practice - Volume 30, November 2017, p.1-15


This article draws attention to international evidence that highlights the value and challenges of promoting youth participation among and for young people affected by, or at risk of, sexual violence. The article draws on evidence from two pan-European projects that took place between 2013 and 2017 and aimed to give young people a voice in order to prevent sexual violence. The central argument of the article is that young people, particularly those directly affected by sexual violence, including those affected by child sexual exploitation, have an important role to play in shaping practice and policy which addresses sexual violence. However, participation work is complex and requires training, resources and support to enable practitioners to undertake this work with the necessary confidence and skills to safely, ethically and meaningfully engage young people. Involving young people affected by sexual violence is significant and goes beyond generic discourse regarding participation as there are specific risk factors associated with working with “marginalised” or “hard to engage” young people . We suggest that this evidence can inform international policy and practice. Organisations, and in turn State parties, need to properly resource such work and meet their obligations, which are outlined in European conventions.

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