August 1, 2019 Research and Evidence ‘Both/and’ not ‘either/or’: reconciling rights to protection and participation in working with child sexual exploitation Journal articlesBy Michelle Lefevre, Kristine Hickle, Barry Luckock Download Analysis of data from a two-year evaluation of the piloting of a child-centred framework for addressing child sexual exploitation (CSE) in England revealed an intrinsic practice dilemma, whereby many practitioners experienced profound ontological, ethical, emotional and intellectual dilemmas in reconciling young people’s rights to voice, privacy and autonomy with their rights to safety, guidance and protection. ‘No-win’ scenarios left practitioners in a ‘double-bind’, whereby acting protectively might alienate a young person, paradoxically encouraging them to engage in further risky behaviours. An individual commitment to child centred and participatory approaches, relational practice and reflective use of self was found to support professionals in exploring this tension with young people themselves, involving them as partners in reducing the risk of exploitation. However, practitioners will struggle to achieve this without manageable workloads, good supervision, and organisational support for the emotional content of the work. Transformational learning is required across the disciplinary practice systems to achieve a more integrated practice of ‘both/and’ thinking and feeling. The tensions between protection and participation can then be surfaced in a way that is constructive rather than divisive.