Promoting Young People's Participation

Gibson, Ross and Morrison, Pamela (2017) Promoting Young People's Participation. [Report]

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    Abstract

    “People must be empowered to be key actors in their own development. This applies equally to children, whose participation and self-expression - based on their evolving capacities and with respect for parental guidance - should be valued by adults” (Annan, 2001, p.99). Annan echoes Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that “every child has the right to have a say in all matters affecting them and to have their views taken seriously”. Children and young people are - or ought to be - key when making decisions that affect them. Participation is not only a legal and moral right, but could improve the lives of those involved in offending by helping them create meaning to their lives and develop new skills. Prout, Simmons and Birchall (2006) state that participation can increase the confidence, sense of achievement and enjoyment of individuals. Additionally, studies identified by Checkoway et al. (2005; 1150) show that efforts to have young people participate “can affect the social development of young people by strengthening their knowledge, practical skills, social values and civic competencies”.