Journal articles

Let’s talk about sexual violence: Involving young people in preventative peer education

Silvie Bovarnick, Kate D’Arcy

Book chapter in Beckett, H., and Pearce, J. (Eds.). (2017). Understanding and Responding to Child Sexual Exploitation. Taylor & Francis. 

This chapter explores the role of youth participation in sexual violence prevention. It builds on Cody’s (2015) work by introducing hitherto unpublished data from ‘Our Voices’, a pan-European initiative promoting youth participation in sexual violence prevention across Europe (for more information, see This is presented with reference to the existing evidence base around sexual violence prevention and participation.

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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Utilising the arts to tackle child sexual exploitation

Claire Cody

Safer Communities, Vol. 14 Iss 1 pp. 47 - 55


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to consider the potential use of creative, arts-based methods to address child sexual exploitation (CSE) through connecting with and supporting young people affected by CSE; and engaging the wider community through awareness-raising and education to help keep young people safe. The use of the arts in building understanding, promoting agency, educating and countering negative portrayals of those affected by CSE are also explored.

Design/methodology/approach – A literature review identified that there is currently a limited
evidence-base surrounding the use of arts in addressing the negative outcomes for young people
affected by CSE and promoting the inclusion and safety of young people in the community. To explore the potential use of the arts in engaging young people and the communities they inhabit, this paper draws from research with other “hard to engage” and stigmatised groups, and learning from efforts to tackle other sensitive and challenging issues that impact on communities.

Findings – The paper suggests that despite the relatively young evidence base concerning the role of creative, arts-based methods to tackle CSE, there is relevant transferable learning that suggests that there is potential in utilising the arts to help prevent CSE and promote community safety.
Research limitations/implications – There is a clear need to consider the ethical implications of this work and to further examine how the arts may be utilised to tackle CSE and bring about positive outcomes for both individuals and for the wider community.

Originality/value – The paper brings together bodies of literature from other fields to explore the potential use of creative arts-based methods to tackle a significant contemporary issue of community safety.

Keywords Engagement, Community, Arts, Creativity, Child sexual exploitation, Research

Paper type Literature review

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‘We have personal experience to share, it makes it real’: Young people's views on their role in sexual violence prevention efforts

Claire Cody

Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 79, August 2017, Pages 221–227


Young people, particularly those affected by sexual violence, are rarely asked about their views on sexual violence prevention initiatives. Forty seven children and young people (aged between 11 and 25) from Albania, Bulgaria and England took part in a series of consultation workshops exploring sexual violence. This article outlines their views and recommendations in relation to the role of young people in prevention work. Young people are clear that they have a role to play when it comes to reaching and informing their peers. They are also aware of the risks of engagement and cognisant of the need for support and training. The consultation findings contribute to the limited evidence base surrounding young people's views on sexual violence prevention. The article illustrates the valuable insights and contributions that children and young people, particularly those affected by the issues, can make to the field. This calls for a shift in how we view and engage children and young people in shaping future sexual violence prevention strategies and projects

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