Why is it important to hear the voices of children and young people in research?

Why is it important to hear the voices of children and young people in research?

Anne Hollonds, Rachel Carson and Lesley Taylor
15 September 2020

This webinar offered insight into the experience for researchers and participants engaging in research involving children and young people.

Teacher helping preteen students with homework during tutoring session

This webinar was held on Tuesday 15 September 2020. Please post your comments below.

This webinar is of interest to child and family welfare researchers and practitioners. It discussed the importance of including children and young people in research to ensure that evidence gathered is relevant for policy and practice that affects children and young people’s lives.

Anne Hollonds, AIFS Director and newly appointed National Children’s Commissioner, facilitated a discussion between AIFS Senior Research Fellow Dr Rachel Carson and Outgoing National Manger of Prevention Strategies for NAPCAN Lesley Taylor.

Dr Carson presented on the research process used for the Children and Young People in Separated Families study. Ms Taylor provided insights from her career across the child welfare sector.

Engaging with children and young people in research is not without its challenges. Securing the required ethical clearances may present issues where there are particular sensitivities relating to children’s involvement in the research. Researchers, like practitioners, need to be trained in child-safe research practices, and have the skills to provide children and young people the opportunity to give informed consent to participate.

Recruiting children and young people can also present challenges. However, these challenges do not detract from the need for research with children and young people and should not discourage researchers from undertaking this important research endeavour. When researchers and practitioners share insights, we build knowledge and capacity within the child and family welfare sector.

Related resources

  • Kids Central Toolkit
    The Kids Central Toolkit aims to provide workers and services with information, resources and tools to use child-centred approaches in their work with children, young people and families.
  • Young and Resilient Research Centre
    The Young and Resilient Research Centre embraces an integrated mode of research and development, education, training and enterprise to research and develop technology-based products, services and policies that strengthen the resilience of young people and their communities, enabling them to live well and participate fully in social and economic life.


This webinar is being hosted in collaboration with NAPCAN in support of National Child Protection Week, 1–7 September 2020.

National Association for Prevention of Child abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN)

Related topics

About the presenters

Anne Hollonds is the Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies and newly appointed National Children's Commissioner. She will start this new role in November 2020.

Rachel Carson

Dr Rachel Carson is a socio-legal researcher with expertise in family law and qualitative research about family law disputes. After practising as a family lawyer, Rachel worked as a researcher in family law at the Melbourne Law School (University of Melbourne) and was awarded a Melbourne Research Scholarship to undertake her PhD in this field of research at the University of Melbourne.

Since joining the Family Law and Family Violence team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies in June 2012, Rachel has worked on a range of significant family law research projects, including the Independent Children’s Lawyer Study and the Evaluation of the 2012 Family Violence Amendments Project. Rachel was the lead researcher for the recently completed Children and Young People in Separated Families: Family Law System Experiences and Needs project, and the Direct Cross-examination in Family Law Matters Study.

Lesley Taylor

Lesley Taylor has dedicated her life to protecting children. After working in the frontline of Northern Territory’s child protection for more than 10 years, in 2000 she founded NT’s first sole child abuse prevention agency – the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN). She is also NAPCAN’s National Manager, Prevention Strategies. Lesley’s work has been instrumental in moving the focus from simply dealing with child abuse after it’s occurred to helping prevent it in the first place. She does this by helping communities engage with children’s wellbeing, helping create child-friendly and child-safe communities. Lesley’s simple, powerful message is that each of us can play a role in preventing child abuse.

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