Cumberland Colloquium Report

Published Date: 
Monday, 28 September 2015

The children’s rights and participation agenda has expanded over the 25 years since the introduction of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This expansion has created more spaces for children and youth to be heard. Young people are frequently asked about their views for the purposes of developing stronger policy, practice and research.

Despite the expansion of spaces for children and youth to be heard in decision-making, young people affected by sexual violence are often excluded from, rather than empowered to take part in, these processes.

This inter-institutional, interdisciplinary one day colloquium explored and reflected on the potential benefits, risks and opportunities of involving young people affected by sexual violence in efforts to prevent sexual violence. This included exploring how young people have been involved in informing policy, practice and research.

The day brought together early career researchers and academics from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, together with those who have experience of supporting young people affected by sexual violence, to discuss lessons-learned on safe and ethical participatory practice with young people affected by sexual violence.

The colloquium addressed the following questions:

  • What are the benefits of, and opportunities for, young people affected by sexual violence engaging in participatory prevention activities?
  • What are the ethical challenges that this work poses? This will include issues such as safety, risk of re-traumatisation, anonymity versus acknowledgement, stigma and identity.
  • What are the possible legal implications of this work?
  • Does social media present new opportunities for engaging young people in participatory projects or simply pose new risks?


Madeleine Askham, Child Rights Policy Officer, World Vision UK

Abi Billinghurst, Founder and Director of Abianda

Helen Cammock, Freelance Participatory Photography Facilitator and Project Manager at PhotoVoice

Claire Cody, Research Fellow, University of Bedfordshire

Craig Dean, Global Voice for Change Project Manager, Plan International

Fiona Factor, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bedfordshire

CJ Hamilton, Youth Advocate

Dr Kristi Hickle, Lecturer, University of Sussex

Kim van Laar, Project Officer, Stichting Alexander

Gerison Lansdown,  Independent Consultant

Ellouise Long, Doctoral Candidate in Forensic Psychology, Middlesex University

Mariana Meshi-Muslia, Executive Director, Different & Equal

Professor Jenny Pearce OBE, Professor of Young People and Public Policy and Director of The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking, University of Bedfordshire

Ivet Pieper, Senior Project Manager, Stichting Alexander

Carlotta Raby, Founder of Luna Children's Charity and Clinical Psychology Doctoral Researcher, Canterbury Christ Church University

Dr Tanya Serisier, Lecturer in Criminology, Queen’s University Belfast

Asaybi Snape, Youth Advocate

Kirsche Walker, Youth Advocate

Dr Camille Warrington, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bedfordshire

Elsie Whittington, Doctoral Researcher and Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant, University of Sussex