New comic book to increase understanding & awareness of child abuse

Wed 30 August, 2023
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Research into child sexual abuse and exploitation carried out by academics at the University of Bedfordshire has been turned into an educational comic book to help raise awareness of complex issues associated with young survivor engagement in participatory processes, and ways to navigate these.

Developed by Dr Claire Cody and Claire Soares, Research Fellows with the Safer Young Lives Research Centre (SYLRC), the comic was released earlier this month and is aimed at both young people and professionals to spark discussion about the needs and concerns when creating a safe space for young survivors of abuse to inform and influence decision-making.

The comic – titled ‘Seeing Things from Both Sides’ – is based on findings from a research study carried out last year by SYLRC at the University of Bedfordshire. The project involved a panel of experts from 18 different countries asked about the potential outcomes associated with the participation of young people in efforts to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Dr Claire Cody, Project Lead, said: “This project is unique because it brings together a range of different voices – internationally. The expert panel from which the comic findings are drawn involved academics, practitioners, and young people, and included those with lived experience of child sexual abuse and exploitation. This offered a rounded picture of both the benefits and challenges around young people’s participation in this context.

“The comic was a way of showing that opinions can be different between and amongst professionals and young people and so we hope it will benefit both groups – helping them to ‘see things from both sides’ and anticipate, plan for, and think about the benefits, risks, and challenges of participation in different ways. We’ve already had some really positive feedback on it from project participants and the wider research and practice community.”

SYLRC works to create and share knowledge of young people’s experiences of abuse and to join forces with others both locally and around the world to better prevent and respond to this by working collaboratively with survivors to inform and develop research and policy.

You can view and download the comic, ‘Seeing Things from Both Sides’, for free by clicking here.


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