AYPH is recruiting partners for a participation project funded by Samworth Foundation called We’re All Right. The aim of We’re All Right is to support young people (aged 16-25) who have lived experience of sexual violence to develop a rights-based approach to sexual violence work. Through this project, young people will take part in a series of group workshops to learn about their rights, develop a resource to explain the importance of respecting and promoting the rights of young people affected by sexual violence and deliver local community events to share this with other young people and professionals.
We will fund four services £7000 each to support us to deliver workshops and develop this new resource with a group of young people – read the workshop partner role description. We will also fund one service £11,500 that can involve a group of young people in evaluating the project – read the peer evaluation role description. These opportunities have been developed by AYPH’s Youth Participation Coordinator and two Youth Advisers who were recruited to work on this project from the beginning.
We use a broad definition of sexual violence, which includes any violation of sexual rights or bodily autonomy, unwanted or traumatic sexual experiences. We recognise the way sexual violence intersects with issues such as housing, gender and sexual identity, mental health, disability and other types of violence. For this reason, we welcome applications from services working on a range of issues and are not limiting our callout to specialist sexual violence services.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will provide a framework for developing a rights-based approach. We will support young people to highlight the ways their rights have been denied and redefine them specifically in relation to sexual violence. We are interested in challenging what UNICEF refers to as ‘cherry-picking’ young people’s rights by supporting the participants to understand all their rights, that all their rights are equally important and that all adults and institutions have a responsibility to uphold them.
Article 12 of the UNCRC outlines the right for young people to have a say on any matter that affects their lives. We’d like to go further and make this a truly young people led project where we learn from each other along the way how to put a rights-based approach into action. We are interested in working with services that allow young people to decide whether they want to be involved rather than professionals choosing participants based on their judgments. A rights-based project should be increasing access for marginalised and rarely heard young people, not continuing to exclude them. Although all our work will be conducted through a third person lens, we are conscious that a project centred on sexual violence can trigger strong responses from participants. Supporting this level of participation requires extra resources, which is why we are offering a substantial payment to all our partners. This is so they can provide wraparound support to ensure all participants are safe and emotionally well throughout the project.
We use a popular education approach which starts from the belief that those with lived experience of an issue are best placed to find the solutions together. We’ve worked with young people with experience of sexual violence on two previous projects, Be Healthy and Learning from the Experts. Based on this work, we have some ideas about what a rights-based approach could potentially look like. In developing We’re All Right we have been particularly inspired by the Survivor’s Voices charter that proposes the idea that good participation should be the opposite of abuse. We will put this into practice through sharing power and resources with young people and other organisations who are willing to work with us in a reciprocal way. We are going one step further on this project by giving young people the power to lead on the evaluation. With support from a service, they will decide what is important for us to measure from the start and ‘check in’ regularly with all the participants.