The Life skills, Leadership and Limitless Potential (LEAP) project was a two-year programme funded by the European Commission, with co-funding from Oak Foundation. It was coordinated by the International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking at the University of Bedfordshire (hereafter referred to as the International Centre) and delivered in four countries: the United Kingdom (UK), Bulgaria, Romania and the Netherlands.
LEAP sought to improve knowledge and develop skills and understanding of a child rights approach to safe and ethical participatory practice when working with children and young people affected by sexual violence. The central aims of the project were to develop confidence amongst practitioners who work in specialist services supporting children and young people who are affected by sexual violence and to strengthen commitments to participatory practice. The project aimed to build the evidence base on how to support and involve practitioners and young people in advocacy, through research and evaluation. LEAP has also facilitated a European knowledge exchange through the dissemination of freely accessible tools and resources.
Together with the four country partners, the International Centre:
- Designed and delivered a four-day course on participatory practice for specialist service practitioners (in each country) and developed this course into an e-learning programme.
- Organised and facilitated 'communities of practice' in each country.
- Developed and delivered a three-day training programme for Youth Facilitators, who have co-delivered a life skills programme to other young people in their countries.
- Supported child and youth-led creative projects combatting sexual violence towards children and young people and shared these with the wider public to raise awareness.
This guidance introduces our understanding of the guiding principles and ethical framework for, children and young people’s participation in the LEAP project.
We expected partner organisations to be committed to good practice and abide by the guiding principles outlined within this document when engaging children and young people in the LEAP project.
The guidance is subject to ongoing review as part of our commitment to reflective practice.