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Speak Up! Voices of European Children in Vulnerable Situations

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An Explorative Study of Children’s Rights in Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands

The aim of the Speak up! study is to increase our knowledge of European children in vulnerable situations or with special needs, and their own views about their rights and what needs to be improved. The methodology was to play a children’s rights game and to hold in-depth discussions about children’s rights in focus groups with children in vulnerable situations and in control groups. The qualitative study of children took place in eight European countries. Children, particularly children in vulnerable situations or with special needs, are insufficiently aware of their rights. Children living in vulnerable situations have very little experience of being listened to. They face discrimination due to disability, ethnic background or social disadvantage, and also due to being under 18-years-old. This study concludes that children in vulnerable situations or with special needs should not be viewed as passive victims but as social actors with the right to be listened to.

Affiliations: 1: Senior Professor of Social Work, Mälardalen Research Center( mrc), Sweden, ; 2: Consultant/Expert of children’s participation and children’s rights, Netherlands,


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