Speaking Truth to Power’: Seminar on Youth and Survivors

'We seek to build a progressive global network of organisations working in youth engagement and with survivors of online sexual abuse. This network will collectively become recognised as a credible international voice that is heard, and which influences change.' - Tink Palmer MBE, CEO, Marie Collins Foundation.

The Marie Collins Foundation recognises the importance of supporting survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSAE) and has shown a commitment to advocating for children’s voices to ensure they are given a platform from which to ‘speak truth to power’ and influence real change.

To do this, we must understand how to better empower survivors of CSAE to have a voice, and ensure that the contemporary voice of the child is at the centre of policy development globally. We must identify and promote practice excellence in survivor and youth engagement where it exists, and identify opportunities to join organisations together to create an holistic and co-ordinated approach.

We have established a three-stage plan to achieving this goal. We will:

  • Conduct a research project, to commence in April 2021, which will involve a review of the globally available literature on effective victim and survivor care, as well as examples of effective youth engagement,
  • Carry out a mapping exercise to identify where practice excellence in survivor focused practice exists internationally,
  • Complete a mapping exercise to identify practice excellence in wider youth engagement and support services internationally.

This research will build on the existing academic literature in relation to survivor support and recovery and identify new research opportunities. We will utilise the knowledge gained to develop a global network of partners to collaborate, support and promote such practice to fledgling organisations through the Global Protection Network (GPN). We will also use our findings to strengthen partnerships between those organisations that support survivors of abuse and those that support youth engagement more broadly, to provide an amplified voice for both groups in speaking truth to power.

Our findings will help inform future practice in supporting survivors of CSAE, and in implementing wider youth engagement strategies. Through focusing on the experiences of survivors and young people together, we will truly be able to amplify their voice and ‘speak truth to power’.

The seminar on 17th March 2020 kick-started our work on this important piece of research. It provided a platform for 6 international organisations operating at the national, regional and localised level, to showcase their own projects and initiatives, and generate a momentum for collaboration. The event culminated in a ‘call to action’ for interested partners to pledge their support in combining efforts with MCF in delivering this activity.

We were thrilled to have 75 attendees from 12 different countries attend and engage in the seminar. Delegates were able to hear from guest speakers representing:

  • University of South Africa
  • Justice and Care (UK)
  • Office of the First Lady of the Republic of Namibia
  • Children First Canada
  • Chelsea Football Club and Foundation
  • Cayman Islands Crisis Centre

We thank each of these organisations for their support and valued collaboration with MCF. If you missed the seminar, you will be able to watch it again here.

If you believe your organisation has a valuable contribution to make to this initiative, please get in touch at gpn@mariecollinsfoundation.org.uk

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“It is comforting to see that the Marie Collins Foundation is trying to address the issues of children harmed online and enabling front line practitioners to conduct work with children that is based on relevant research. I will be a regular visitor to the website and will be advertising the charity in the workshops I facilitate.”

Social worker, MCF training attendee

Marie Collins Foundation Partners