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A meaningful say in ending Violence Against Women and Girls:

Active participation of children, young people, staff and parents/carers will provide opportunities to increase understanding of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and enable people to take ownership of stopping it. Participation is about people having a meaningful say in decisions that affect their lives. It is about facilitating opportunities for people to instigate and implement their own ideas to stop VAWG.

The Ladder of Participation Model

This model was developed to be specific to children and young people by Hart (1992) [1] but it can be used to understand participation by adults too. It is commonly used as a basic tool to assess levels of participation with the bottom three levels describing non-participation (and as such should be avoided) and the top levels showing successively more meaningful methods of participation.

According to Shier (2001) [2] there are three levels of commitment relating to participation.

Openings – when adults are committed to children and young people’s participation and are determined to work towards it, even if an opportunity does not exist there are openings;

Opportunities – when the adult has the necessary resources, training and skills to make participation happen there are opportunities;

Obligations – when an organisation puts a policy which states that participation is part of their staff’s practice, there is an obligation.

1. Hart, R. (1992). Children’s Participation from Tokenism to Citizenship. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre

2. Shier, H. (2001) ‘Pathways to participation: Openings, opportunities and obligations’, Children and Society, vol 15, no2, pp107-117.