Strengthening participatory practice with children and young people affected by sexual violence
Creating a safe space: Ideas for the development of participatory group work to address sexual violence with young people
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.
Children and Young People's Participation in Research to address sexual violence: Ethical working paper
This document outlines the International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking (IC)'s commitment to children and young people’s participation, explaining the IC'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.
Ethical guidance on children and young people’s participation for LEAP partners
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.
A guide on developing communities of practice for services who are working with children and young people affected by sexual violence
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.
Circle of participation
This is an exercise that helps people to reflect on the value of participatory work and to focus on why we are doing this work. It can be used with practitioners, researchers and young people.
Toothpaste exercise –explaining confidentiality in a group
This is an exercise that helps people to think about what it means to share something in a group and the limits of confidentiality in these settings. It can be used in focus groups and group work sessions.
Telling our stories
This is an exercise that helps people reflect on active listening and what it’s like to have your story told and tell someone else’s story.
Episode 14: Learning from the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project
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.
Episode 13: Learning from a study exploring peer support for young people affected by sexual violence
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.
Episode 12: Introducing section 4 of the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project Toolkit on 'Participatory Advocacy'
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
Episode 11: Introducing section 3 of the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project Toolkit on 'Children's Rights and Participation'
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
Episode 10: Introducing section 2 of the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project Toolkit on 'Exploring Sexual Violence'
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
Episode 9: Introducing section 1 of the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project Toolkit on 'Creating Safe Spaces'
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
Episode 8: Can children and young people ‘do research’ on sexual violence?
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
Episode 7: What does participation in CSE services look like?
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.
Episode 6: Embedding participation as a model of practice
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.
Episode 5: How do we strengthen participatory practice with children and young people affected by sexual violence? Key learning from the LEAP Against Sexual Violence project
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.
Episode 4: What is popular education and how can these techniques be helpful in working with young people affected by sexual violence?
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.
Episode 3: What is the impact of sexual violence on young people?
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.
Episode 2: What is participatory engagement?
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.
Episode 1: What is the Our Voices Research and Practice Network?
In this episode Claire Cody shares some background to the development of the network and explains how it will function. 6 minutes.
Ethical considerations for universities working with children challenging sexual violence against children
A key topic of interest that emerged from scoping undertaken as part of the development of the University Network Children Challenging Sexual Violence (CCSV) is the need for standardised ethical guidance for doing participatory research with children and young people on sexual violence against children.
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.
Emerging themes from the 'Our Voices Too' Youth Advocacy Project
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.
International University Network: Children Challenging Sexual Violence Webinar July 2019
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.
Being Heard webinar: Involving children and young people in participatory research on sexual violence - challenges and approaches
In collaboration with the International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’ (IC), University of Bedfordshire and the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls programme, the SVRI hosted a joint webinar to share emerging findings from a scoping which was undertaken to review international evidence on youth engagement in participatory research on sexual violence.
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.
Ethical challenges in participatory projects: Power, ownership and control – when we give young people a platform how prepared are we to listen to what they have to say?
This will be the first in a series of case study discussions that will explore different ethical challenges that can arise in participatory projects.
Working with children and young people affected by sexual violence in the UK
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.
Engaging young people in online safety prevention projects: challenges and good practices from the Make-IT-Safe project in Belgium
This webinar introduces the Make-IT-Safe project and explores how young people got involved in preventing online abuse and exploitation.
Involving marginalised young people in preventing sexual exploitation
During the webinar Stellit, an NGO based in St Petersburg Russia, share their experience of supporting the Youth Volunteer Movement "Do You Know the Way? Do it Your Own Way…"
Young people's views on their role in sexual violence prevention efforts
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.
Making safe spaces to talk about unsafe relationships
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.
‘They need to see the people they are affecting by their decision-making’: Developing participatory advocacy with young people on sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia
This report shares learning from the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project. The project involved working with youth advocates and facilitators from three NGOs in Albania, Moldova and Serbia on a participatory advocacy project to address the sexual violence of children and young people in their local contexts. The report draws on learning collected as part of the project's monitoring and evaluation process.
Peer support for young people who have experienced sexual violence - tensions, challenges and strategies: Briefing paper four
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.
Peer support for young people who have experienced sexual violence - the value: Briefing paper three
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.
Peer support for young people who have experienced sexual violence? The rationale and key themes from the literature: Briefing paper two
This briefing paper, the second of four, 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.
Introduction to the study exploring peer support initiatives for young people who have experienced sexual violence: Briefing paper one
This briefing paper, the first of four, provides a brief introduction and overview of a research project which aimed to explore peer support for young people affected by sexual violence.
Being Heard: Promoting children and young people's involvement in participatory research on sexual violence
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.
Literature review: What do we know about life skills and leadership training for vulnerable children and young people?
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.
Literature review: Participation in policy and practice - children and young people who are affected by sexual violence
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: Experiences of criminal justice for children and young people affected by sexual exploitation as victims and witnesses
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.
Challenging sexual violence in Europe: Using participatory methods with children
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
The participation of young people in child sexual exploitation services: A scoping review of the literature
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.
'They don't talk about it enough'- Report on the 2014 consultations with Youth Advisors for Our Voices
This report provides an overview of the findings from a number of consultations with Youth Advisors across Albania, Bulgaria and the UK. The consultations explored:
Child and youth participation and regional cooperation: The ‘Our Voices’ project
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.
Making safe spaces to talk about unsafe relationships: bringing young people into the dialogue around preventing and responding to sexual violence
This presentation was delivered at the 3rd International Conference of the International Childhood and Youth Research Network, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus, 10-12th June, 2015.
Report from the follow on meeting from the Cumberland Colloquium on young people, sexual violence, ethics and participation
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.
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, andgeneral ethical dilemmas, which can arise when working in a participatory way with young peopleaffected by sexual violence. The day broughttogether speakers and delegates with a wealth of experience of working with young people affectedby sexual violence from across the UK, Europe and beyond. Participants came from both academia and practice.
Report from the first meeting of the Reference and Dissemination Group for Our Voices
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:
AYPH Be Healthy
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:
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.
Love, sex, conflict
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.
Just a link?
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.
I define me
A film by young women from Manchester Active Voices shot over five days in October 2012. I Define Me shares their views and experiences of growing up in gang-affected areas.
Making justice work for victims and witnesses in child sexual exploitation cases
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.
What young people affected by sexual exploitation have told us about the support they want from you
In this short film for practice, Fiona Factor shares the six key messages young people affected by child sexual exploitation have shared about the support they want from professionals.
LEAP Against Sexual Violence Newsletter February 2017
In this special edition newsletter from ChildHub an overview of, and updates from the LEAP project are shared.
LEAP Against Sexual Violence Newsletter October 2016
In this special edition newsletter from ChildHub an overview of, and updates from the LEAP project are shared.
Let’s talk about sexual violence: Involving young people in preventative peer education
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 www.our-voices.org.uk). 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?
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
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
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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Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project in numbers
This infographic illustrates in numbers the activities Youth Advocates were involved in as part of the Our Voices Too Youth Advocacy Project.
Get on the Map! University Network: Children Challenging Sexual Violence
Get on the Map! resource includes universities who are part of the University Network and have given permission to be included in this resource. This does not reflect all universities engaged with the network. If you would like details of your University to be included on the map, please email Jenny.Pearce@beds.ac.uk.
University Network on Children Challenging Sexual Violence: Third Briefing
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.
University Network on Children Challenging Sexual Violence: Second Briefing
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.
University Network on Children Challenging Sexual Violence: First Briefing
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.