Changing the story: hearing children and young people’s voices


Power Up/Power Down was an exciting partnership project between Scottish Women’s Aid and the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland. 

In 2016, 27 children and young people aged between 6 and 17 years old took part in a participatory project, Power Up/Power Down, supported by Glasgow Women’s Aid, Shakti Women’s Aid and East Dunbartonshire Women’s Aid. Throughout a series of sessions, they explored themes of power, children’s rights, making their voices heard in court, and how to improve the experience and outcomes for children affected by domestic abuse in family court actions relating to contact decisions.

Children and young people taking part were given an illustrated story about two children with experience of domestic abuse going through the family court system, based on real-life examples collected by Scottish Women’s Aid.  Through an exploration of the story in relation to children’s rights and concepts of power, the children and young people ‘rewrote’ the story to improve the outcomes for the children in it.

The resulting new story highlights key areas for positive change and identifies recommendations for making the system better for children and young people. These recommendations have been used to directly inform our policy and influencing work around court-ordered contact.

Read the original and rewritten story below or download here.

The stories of Power Up/Power Down, along with the background of the project, have also been compiled into a series of videos which can be viewed here.

The Super Listener was designed by children and young people with experience of domestic abuse as part of the Power Up/Power Down project.

The children taking part felt it was important that all adults working with children know what makes a Super Listener, and this image was produced based on what they said.

You can download the poster and postcard Super Listener resources to use in your own work.