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

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Guides, tools and activities

Dice Activity

This activity helps young people to talk about sensitive topics by creating case studies of young people’s journey’s 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

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.

A guide on developing communities of practice for services who are working with children and young people affected by sexual violence

Kate D'Arcy

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.

Podcast series

Episode 6: Embedding participation as a model of practice

Abi Billinghurst

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. 

Abi also wrote all the tools for the LEAP Against Sexual Violence project which can be accessed on the Childhub website30 mins  

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

Kate D'Arcy

November 2017 - 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 mins

Episode 4: What is popular education and how can these techniques be helpful in working with young people affected by sexual violence?

Lindsay Starbuck

August 2017 -  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 mins

Episode 3: What is the impact of sexual violence on young people?

Lucie Shuker

June 2017 -  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 mins

Episode 2: What is participatory engagement?

Camille Warrington

May 2017 -  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 mins

Episode 1: What is the Our Voices Research and Practice Network?

Claire Cody

March 2017 - In this episode Claire Cody shares some background to the development of the network and explains how it will function. 6 minutes

Webinars and online events

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

Kate D'Arcy

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

Ariane Couvreur

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

Marina Kutsak and Olga Kolpakova

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

Claire Cody

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

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.

Research and consultation reports

Literature review: What do we know about life skills and leadership training for vulnerable children and young people?

Kate D'Arcy

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

Kate D’Arcy with Isabelle Brodie

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

Helen Beckett and Camille Warrington

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

Jenny Pearce

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

Isabelle Brodie

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

Claire Cody

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:

  • What young people felt the issues were around sexual violence in their communitites
  • What the barriers and challenges were to young people talking about sexual violence and acessing support
  • What young people thought could be done to stop sexual violence
  • How young people could be more involved in preventing sexual violence.

Presentations

Child and youth participation and regional cooperation: The ‘Our Voices’ project

Claire Cody

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

Claire Cody and Camille Warrington

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.

Event reports

Report from the follow on meeting from the Cumberland Colloquium on young people, sexual violence, ethics and participation

Claire Cody

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

Claire Cody

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

Claire Cody

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

Films

AYPH Be Healthy

Be Healthy Health Advocates

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.

Love, sex, conflict

Jigsaw 4U, Alford House, NSPCC, London

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?

City United and St George’s Hub Birmingham

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.

Misunderstood

Enthusiasm, Derby

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

Manchester Active Voices/Community Change Foundation

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

Camille Warrington

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

Fiona Factor

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.

Newsletters

LEAP Against Sexual Violence Newsletter February 2017

Childhub

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

Childhub

In this special edition newsletter from ChildHub an overview of, and updates from the LEAP project are shared.

Journal articles

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


Abstract

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


Abstract

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


Abstract

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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