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Young People’s Perspectives on Participatory Ethics: Agency, Power and Impact in Domestic Abuse Research and Policy-Making

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235–248
Number of pages13
JournalChild Abuse Review
Early online date27 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2015


Children’s perspectives literature repositions children and young people as active participants in surviving domestic abuse, protecting their family, opposing the violence and recovering from abuse. However, key tenets of safeguarding in relation to domestic abuse, both in practice and childhood research ethics, struggle to fully recognise children’s agency and the need to empower children and young people as well as women. Children’s right to participation now extends to national policymaking in many countries, yet has not been explored in relation to the interdependency of women and children’s rights, safety and wellbeing where both have been subject to abuse. This paper challenges the current exclusion of young voices from the development of ethical praxis. It outlines a participatory ethical approach that promotes the inclusion and empowerment of young survivors in research and policy. Young expert advisors on Scottish domestic abuse policy (2009–11) co-develop the approach (participatory action research) which is informed by a wider study (2004–11) about children’s help-seeking and solutions for practice. Mullender et al.’s accepted model of three Cs and Ds (consent, confidentiality, child protection: danger, distress, disclosure) are adapted to focus on children’s agency. Three Es are added focusing on children’s power and impact: enjoyment, empowerment and emancipation.

    Research areas

  • domestic violence, domestic abuse, young people, participation, ethics, agency

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