Given the centrality of the concept of children participation rights in Our Voices III this concept paper has been developed to clarify our use of the term and support an understanding of the concept in its fullest sense.
This toolkit attempts to capture the International Centre's, and partners', learning about promoting safety and managing risk when undertaking group work to address sexual violence with young people. We consider it a working document and recognise that it will benefit from revision and refinement in the future. However, we are sharing this resource to both document elements of the Our Voices Too project and to support wider learning and feedback on this topic.
This document outlines the Safer Young Lives Research Centre (SYLRC)'s commitment
to children and young people’s participation, explaining the SYLRC's underlying
principles and ethical framework for participatory research with young people. A checklist is also available to support project planning for developing participatory practice and can be applied to any participatory project or initiative with children and young people.
The paper and its contents are open and subject to on-going review as part of our commitment to reflective practice.
This activity helps young people to talk about sensitive topics by creating case studies of young people’s journeys 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 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 document contains step-by-step guidance and methodological notes
for a 3-day youth facilitator training and 12-session life skills and
leadership programme for young people who have experienced or are at
risk of experiencing sexual violence.
This toolkit provides the necessary resources for youth facilitators to deliver together with adult facilitators:
• a 3-day training programme for youth and adult facilitators; and • a 12-session programme on life-skills and leadership for young people who have experienced or are at risk of sexual violence.
Both programmes aim to strengthen participatory practice amongst service providers and increase young people’s participation.
Kate D’Arcy and Camille Warrington with Claire Cody
This guidance forms part of the Life Skills, Leadership and Limitless Potential (LEAP) project. The guidance introduces our understanding of the guiding principles and ethical framework for children and young people’s participation in the LEAP project. The guidance is subject to ongoing review as part of our commitment to reflective practice.
This guide seeks to share tips, tools and stories of change from the project in order to enable others to set up their own communitiesof practice and strengthen commitments to participatory practice when supporting children and young people affected by sexual violence.
In this episode Silvie Bovarnick from the International Centre at the University of Bedfordshire shares some of the learning from the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project. This episode looks specifically at risks and benefits of
involving young people with lived experience in participatory advocacy on
sexual violence against children. 14 minutes.
In this podcast Claire Cody from the International Centre at the University of Bedfordshire shares findings from a recent study exploring the value, and challenges, of peer support initiatives for young people affected by sexual violence. 22 minutes.
In this final podcast exploring the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project Toolkit, Helen Veitch, Oak Fellow at the International Centre, shares details of the final section of the toolkit which explored participatory advocacy with the Youth Advocates. Helen talks about how the toolkit guided the Youth Advocates through the process of coming up with an advocacy issue and planning their activities.12 minutes
In this podcast, Delphine Peace from the International Centre shares an overview of section three of the toolkit designed for the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project. Delphine reflects on some of the key activities and exercises included in this section and shares some feedback from those involved in delivering the sessions and participating in them. 12 minutes
In this podcast, Delphine Peace from the International Centre shares why a section of the toolkit was focused on exploring sexual violence with the Youth Advocates. Delphine outlines some of the key activities and concepts included in this section and shares some feedback on these exercises from the facilitators and Youth Advocates involved in the project. 15 minutes
In this podcast, Dr Camille Warrington from the International Centre talks through why it was important to include sessions aimed at creating a 'safe space' in a group setting with the youth advocates as part of the 'Our Voices Too' Youth Advocacy Project. Camille talks through this section explaining some of the activities outlined in the toolkit and shares feedback from those involved in the project. 18 minutes
Dr Silvie Bovarnick, Research Fellow at the International Centre, shares 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? 12 minutes
Dr Isabelle Brodie, Senior Research Fellow at the 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. 30 minutes.
Abi Billinghurst is the founder and director of Abianda, a social enterprise that works with young women affected by gangs. In this episode, 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.
In this episode Dr Kate D’Arcy, Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre, shares with us some of the key learning from the LEAP Against Sexual Violence project, which supports children and young people affected by sexual violence by strengthening and facilitating participatory practice in the UK and in three European countries.12 minutes.
In this episode Lindsay Starbuck, Youth Participation Coordinator at the Association for Young People's Health (AYPH) talks about popular education and how certain techniques can be applied when working with young people affected by sexual violence. Lindsay also explores things to think through when facilitating this type of work.19 minutes.
In this episode Dr Lucie Shuker explores what research tells us about the impact of sexual violence on young people, specifically trauma, and what this means when researchers and practitioners are thinking about effective engagement.19 minutes.
In this episode Dr Camille Warrington introduces the idea of participatory engagement and explores the different ways engagement can occur and the similar elements or principles that are present in participatory approaches.16 minutes.
EUPHA INJ, OVUN, WONCA Europe come together during European Public Health Week to discuss educational settings and community responses in relation to child sexual abuse, and in the broader theme of building resilient health systems. The event takes place on 20th May 2022 at 3pm CEST. For more information click here
This webinar shares learning from ‘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 youth participatory action research (YPAR) project is exploring young people’s perspectives in relation to seeking justice and support in the aftermath of sexual violence and exploitation in Albania.
In this webinar Dr. Silvie Bovarnick, Research Fellow at the SYLRC and Mariana Meshi, Director at Different and Equal share emerging learning from this innovative project.
In this webinar, members of the network, including Jenny Pearce, Elisabetta Biffi, Camille Warrington and Catherine Maternowska, share thoughts and 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.
This webinar was hosted on the 18th November, 2019 to mark the European Day on the Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. In the webinar Claire Cody and Silvie Bovarnick share findings from the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project. As part of this 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 working together with young people to implement participatory advocacy activities in their respective countries. The IC worked with the partner organisations to design a toolkit for adult facilitators from these three NGOs to help them support young people (Youth Advocates), who are current and former service users, to design and plan an advocacy campaign on sexual violence against children. Throughout the process a team of researchers at the IC have been collecting data to capture the learning from this project.
In this webinar, held in collaboration with the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, we introduce our new International University Network to challenge sexual violence against children and share ideas with participants for future developments. Read more about the International University Network here.
In this webinar, Dr Silvie Bovarnick and Dr Helen Beckett from the ‘International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’ at the University of Bedfordshire in the UK, discussed about why and how we should engage children and young people in participatory research on sexual violence. The aim of this session was to help participants to think about some of the practical, ethical and methodological issues associated with youth involvement in participatory research on sensitive issues.
This webinar showcases a unique, EU-funded project: The LEAP Project: Supporting children and young people affected by sexual violence in Europe by strengthening and facilitating participatory practice. The webinar shares learning from a four-day course on improving participatory practice for those working with young people affected by sexual violence.
To mark the first European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, this webinar shared young people's views on preventing sexual violence. Findings from a series of consultations with children and young people affected by sexual violence in Albania, Bulgaria and England are explored.
Camille Warrington is participation lead for the International Centre. Watch the recording of a webinar presented by Camille in which she shares insights into participatory research with young people and explores good practice.
This report shares learning from a participatory advocacy project addressing sexual violence with young women in Albania, Moldova and Serbia. The report draws on M&E data collected as part of the project to explore key themes and lessons learnt.
This briefing paper, the final of four, is based on exploratory research into peer support for young people who have experienced sexual violence. This briefing paper explores one area of the findings, the risks, tensions and challenges associated with peer support interventions.
This briefing paper, the third of four, is based on exploratory research into peer support for young people who have experienced sexual violence. This briefing paper focusses on one area of the findings related to the value for those: receiving peer based support; giving support and; organisations supporting such initiatives.
This briefing is based on a review of the literature that was carried out in preparation for a scoping study that aimed to learn lessons from those engaged in peer support interventions for young people who had experienced sexual violence.
Silvie Bovarnick with Delphine Peace, Camille Warrington and Jenny Pearce
This report shares findings from an international scoping review conducted by the International Centre on the engagement of children and young people in participatory research on sexual violence. The report discusses a range of ethical and practical challenges of involving vulnerable children and young people in participatory research on sensitive issues and draws out key considerations for research practice.
This review formed part of the Life Skills, Leadership and Limitless Potential project (LEAP).The aims of this literature review were to; review the global literature on life skills and leadership initiatives for vulnerable and/or hard to reach children and young people, including relevant projects that aim to prevent sexual violence and take a participatory or peer-led approach within their work; collate existing information about the value of life skills and leadership projects and programmes in order to inform the plans for participatory and creative workshops to develop the LEAP toolkit and; provide case studies illustrating what we know about life skills and leadership training for vulnerable children and young people.
This review is part of the Life Skills, Leadership and Limitless Potential (LEAP) project. This literature review concentrates on the nature and scope of participation of children and young people who are affected by sexual violence and receive services relating to this.
Making Justice Work was a one year participatory pilot research project. The research explored young people’s experiences of the criminal justice system in child sexual exploitation (CSE) cases,and the ways in which these could be improved.
This report presents the findings of a desk top review into activities across Europe involving young people as participants in efforts to prevent sexual violence against children. The work was initiated and supported by the Council of Europe programme 'Building a Europe for and with Children', with the Institute of Applied Social Research
This review aims to develop understanding of the conceptualization, nature and impact of participation in child sexual exploitation services, as well as the necessary conditions for effective participatory working, and the replicability of participative models.
This presentation was delivered at the High Level, Cross Regional Meeting on Protection of Children from Sexual Violence, Council of Europe and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence Against Children, Strasbourg, 19th June, 2015.
This report provides a summary of a meeting that was organised following the Cumberland Colloquium. With funding from the Council of Europe, the meeting brought together academics from the Universities of Bedfordshire, Queen’s, Sussex and the New Bulgarian University, along with practitionersworking directly with young people affected by sexual violence, and representatives from International NGO’s including Plan International, Save the Children and Terre des Hommes. Together 23 participants attended the meeting bringing with them experiences of working with young people across the UK, Europe and further afield.
Conference programme for the Cumberland Lodge Colloquium held in September 2015 on 'Young people affected by sexual violence as change makers in prevention efforts: what are the opportunities and what are the risks'.
This report provides a summary of a colloquium held at Cumberland Lodge in September 2015. The aim of the event was to provide a space to think about the risks and responsibilities, and general ethical dilemmas, which can arise when working in a participatory way with young people affected by sexual violence. The day brought together speakers and delegates with a wealth of experience of working with young people affected by sexual violence from across the UK, Europe and beyond. Participants came from both academia and practice.
This report summarises the meeting held in 2014 which brought together members of the ‘Our Voices’ Reference and Dissemination Group and Advisory Group alongside country project partners and youth associates from the International Centre.
The objectives of this first meeting were to:
Share updates from the ‘Our Voices’ project
Hear from other organisations to understand what work is happening on sexual violence prevention
Learn how others are involving young people in sexual violence prevention efforts
The Health Advocates in the AYPH Be Healthy Project created this animated film to highlight some of
the issues they identified as a group. It consists of three short
stories exploring three different stages of dealing with problems:
how difficult it is to recognise that you have a problem
the barriers young people can face when accessing help and
some of the issues young people experience when they do use services.
Inspired by the work of The Paper Cinema
the characters were created using nothing but card, tracing paper,
pencil and marker pens. The animation was filmed live and then all the
Health Advocates got together in a London recording studio to record the
dialog and voice over.
A film by a group of young people from different areas in London shot over two weeks in August 2013. Love, Sex, Conflict is their response to issues associated with young women and men, gangs, sex and relationships.
A film by a group of young women from City United and St George's Hub shot over five days in August 2012. It is part of their response to issues associated with young women, gangs, sex and relationships.
The following short film shows young men and their youth worker
engaged in the Enthusiasm project, an initiative for young people in
gang-associated areas. It presents their ideas for supporting other young men to leave gangs.
In this short film Camille Warrington presents some key messages from the ‘Making Justice Work’ research project, in order to improve experiences of the justice system for child witnesses and victims in CSE investigations.
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 www.our-voices.org.uk). This is presented with reference to the existing evidence base around sexual violence prevention and participation.
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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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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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
Accessing this paper requires log in credentials. Access it here.
YRAP members at the Safer Young Lives Research Centre designed an infographic with artist Zuhura Plummer to show how young people's participation in research and services can be protective at an individual level and for young people more widely.
Get on the Map! Our interactive map includes details of OVUN members who have given permission to be included in this resource. If you are an existing OVUN member and not yet on the map - or you would like to sign up to the network, please fill in this short form and we'll get you on the map!
This third briefing paper summarises key points arising from the University Network's most recent webinar which explored ‘Ethical considerations for universities working with children challenging sexual violence against children’. This briefing also shares progress on the proposed University Framework and information on ' Get on the Map!' an effort to map active Network members.
Catherine Maternowska, Delphine Peace and Jenny Pearce
This second briefing is based on our first international university network webinar, held in July 2019 with The End Violence Against Children Global Partnership. It provides a recap of presentations from speakers, key discussion points from the Q&A session with participants and signposts to resources.
This briefing paper summarises initial findings from a survey designed to map universities and organisations working on challenging sexual violence against children (SVAC). The survey informs the development of a new university network which will capture and promote participatory activities undertaken by universities around the world to challenge SVAC by supporting children to be co-determiners of research agendas, activities, and teaching and curriculum materials.
This submission, by the Our Voices Team, focusses on how involving children and young people with lived experience in decision-making should be key to any approach in addressing the sale and sexual exploitation of children.