In the Netherlands, 20 professionals and experienced experts have formed a community of practice (CoP) to strengthen participation of young people who have been sexually abused or who are at risk of abuse. The participants come from a variety of backgrounds/organisations, e.g.
- A primary youth care, working with youngsters who have been put to work by loverboys
- Outreach professionals, working on the streets with victims of forced prostitution
- Grant making for victims of child abuse
- 4 adult experienced experts, who currently educate teenagers in schools
- Healthcare, screening teenagers on a daily basis
During the workshops several fields have emerged where participation can (and needs to) be strengthened. These are among others:
1. Treatment settings: ranging from providing proper information about options, helping the youth make choices as to what treatment would be most valuable, to allowing the pace of the youngster to determine the pace of the treatment.
2. Prevention settings: are young people consulted about the quality and effect of prevention activities, do young people themselves play a role in prevention activities (peer-education, experienced experts)?
3. Mainstreaming participation in all levels of an organisation: ranging from youth influencing policy, to setting up participatory projects, to including voice of youth in HR.
Currently the professionals are all working within their own organisations and activities to strengthen participation. Every 2 months the group comes together to discuss progress, to give each other advice and feedback, and most of all, to provide each other a safe space for joint learning.