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Youth participation conference

On July 5 2016 we held a conference on gender based violence and youth participation. This event celebrated the successful completion of our 3 year Big Lottery Fund youth participation project, involving 5 partners around the country.

The aim of the participation project was to deliver therapeutic group work and accredited leadership development to disadvantaged and marginalised young people. The peer educators then developed their own campaigns, films and group work programmes for their peers, communities and policy makers.

Speakers at the event included

  • Sarah Champion MP for Rotherham
  • Lesley Pollard and young people from Chilypep in Sheffield
  • Leila Belghazouani from Limes College Sutton
  • Camille Warrington from The University of Bedfordshire
  • Jo Sharpen, Policy Manager at AVA.

Key findings from the evaluation showed that 88% of those participants measured show improved awareness, confidence and understanding of Domestic Violence. The programme also strongly contributed to improved emotional wellbeing of participants in a range of ways and improved life opportunities.

At the conference our keynote speaker Sarah Champion MP said

“As a society we need to start listening to, and learning from, the experiences of victims and survivors of abuse.  They are the experts, yet too often we ignore them rather than empowering them to make positive change.  Every survivor of abuse I’ve met wants to do something to stop someone else becoming a victim and this is exactly what AVA makes happen.”

You can read Sarah Champion’s full press release here.

We also celebrated our partner Limes College in Sutton winning the recent Times Educational Supplement Award for best Alternative Provision School of the year.

Quotes from young people involved in the project

“Before I came to the group I was not really doing anything. I now feel like I am part of something important that could change other people’s lives.”

“I learned a lot about domestic abuse in general…different campaigning methods and how to deliver focus groups.. I had the opportunity to travel to London to visit the Houses of Parliament, which was amazing, got to speak to people about the work that the group was doing.”

Next steps

  • At the event we launched our new toolkit on youth participation. This will be available to purchase soon along with a comprehensive training package for how to run accredited peer education programmes within your organisation.
  • All the materials from the event, including the full evaluation, will be available to download from our website shortly.
  • We also invite you to visit our award winning prevention platform for more resources and information on youth participation.


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