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Capturing clouds - Listening to young survivors in the design of their journey through paediatric sexual abuse referral centre services

Meyrick, Jane



Rachel Adams
Project Member



Young people using a Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) in the southwest UK were involved in a co-production approach to redesign their journey from the service onwards to sexual health care in a range of settings. These young people had survived a traumatic loss of power and control, so the process of this redesign had to centre on building back their voice and sense of their own agency and power. In doing this work in a trauma-informed way, key issues of power and ethics in PPI and health were confronted.


The issues of safeguarding and ongoing support- sometimes thought to 'hold work back' - were addressed by hosting the work with existing specialist child sexual abuse services, within a group of young people who had already been through personal therapy work and had opted to join a survivor voice group. This was done in collaboration with a health psychologist with experience in the area of sexual violence and PPI in sexual health and adapted existing tools and ideas of experts working in this field, Camille Warrington.


Practice in which power sits with the health agency came to the fore, and NHS health professionals demonstrated openness and flexibility to adapting biomedical or clinical approaches to the needs of the young survivors. Reflections from the SARC’s frontline workers, clinical psychologist and the project’s PPI advisor will explore what it felt like to upset this power balance, and what it felt like to depart from the biomedical model: embracing vulnerability... capturing clouds.

Lessons learned

This paper will present the challenges and breakthroughs experienced by professionals and young people learning and collaborating around a common goal, to make the sexual health service contribution to young people's recovery journey as positive as possible ‘translated’ back to mainstream medicine and clinical practice. It will sketch the outcomes of the project, asking how far the new patient pathway reflects the voice of survivors, and how we can evaluate the new service in a meaningful way.


Meyrick, J. (2023, July). Capturing clouds - Listening to young survivors in the design of their journey through paediatric sexual abuse referral centre services. Presented at World STI and HIV Congress, Chicago

Presentation Conference Type Speech
Conference Name World STI and HIV Congress
Conference Location Chicago
Start Date Jul 25, 2023
End Date Sep 27, 2023
Deposit Date Sep 23, 2023
Public URL