Young Researchers' Advisory Panel (YRAP)

Established in 2016, the YRAP primarily exists to ensure that research about young people is informed by and undertaken with young people, including those with lived experience of the issues being explored. We think this is really important for lots or reasons – particularly when research focuses on young people who have already faced marginalisation or silencing from people in power. We want to be part of changing the way that knowledge gets produced – encouraging policy makers, practitioners and researchers to take young people seriously and see them as active partners in bringing about change.

Who we are

The YRAP involves young people aged 16 – 25 years and represents diverse perspectives and experiences, united by a commitment to improve responses to child sexual abuse and related forms of harm. Many of us have prior experience of participating in research projects at the Safer Young Lives Research Centre or have been part of participation work in local projects which support young people after experiences of sexual abuse. YRAP members work in a professional capacity to strengthen the engagement of young people and wider communities in all aspects of the SYLRC’s research and dissemination. To date the panel has involved 16 young women and men aged 16 to 25 from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What we do

Our work starts here in the Safer Young Lives Research Centre – helping members of the wider research team to develop, design and undertake research in ways that are child- or youth-centred, ethical and empowering. We help with:

  • piloting interviews
  • exploring research themes
  • developing research questions
  • sense-checking findings
  • designing accessible reports to share research with other young people.

We help train other professionals, share our learning at conferences and co-write with other members of the research team. We also give our feedback on the direction of the research centre. In 2021 we are developing our own research project.

We also support other researchers and policy makers who want to consult with children and young people about issues relating to child sexual abuse. Organisations we’ve supported recently include the Home Office, the University of Sussex and the Centre for Expertise on child sexual abuse

As well as collaborating on research we also work to promote children’s participation rights in practice and policy relating to child sexual abuse more widely. We want people to know that supporting children and young people’s participation rights is a vital part of protecting them. You can read more about this in an article that some of the YRAP co-wrote

Our current programme of work

Our current programme (funded by the Samworth Foundation) works towards three objectives:

  1. To embed and develop the role and capacity of the YRAP within the SYLRC and UK wide CSE research community*. (*We are starting to extend our reach and work with international researchers through the Our Voices Oak foundation project).
  2. To capture and disseminate evidence-based learning about young people’s participation in CSE practice and research
  3. To undertake co-produced research (supported by SYLRC staff) on a research priority identified by young people.

A short history of the YRAP

In 2016, having secured a small pot of internal funding for a two year pilot, the Safer Young Lives Research Centre developed the Young Researchers’ Advisory Panel (YRAP). Prior to this, we had often worked with young people’s advisory groups on individual research projects and used participatory methodologies. From 2016, we wanted to find a way of supporting young people’s ongoing engagement and influence in the centre. The YRAP was set up in partnership with a group of eight young people who had previous experience of supporting our work in advisory roles.

Following the pilot, we were successful in applying for further funding from the Samworth Foundation This has allowed us to recruit new members, grow our influence and put plans in place until spring 2022.

As far as we know the YRAP is a unique model of enabling young people’s participation in applied research and policy to address child sexual abuse. If you are interested in hearing more about our work or collaborating with us, please contact us via Camille Warrington at camille.warrington@beds.ac.uk

address

Safer Young Lives Research Centre
University of Bedfordshire
University Square
Luton
Bedfordshire
UK
LU1 3JU

Our Tweets: @uniofbedsSYLRC