Loading content

Lived experience engagement

Meaningful inclusion of people with lived experience in our work.

Meaningful inclusion of lived experience in research and policymaking is one of the key principles of the Modern Slavery PEC’s work, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also it is essential for improving policies addressing modern slavery and informing them with real experience of people who have been through it.

Our consultation exercise in 2020 confirmed a pressing need to be more inclusive in allocating funding and conducting modern slavery research, outlining an ambition to move beyond consideration of those with experience as mere participants or ‘subjects’ of research, and embracing genuine, equitable, meaningful involvement.

Since then, we have dedicated significant resource to embedding lived experience as an essential part of research and policy in this area, within the Centre and across modern slavery research more generally.

Survivor inclusion in the Centre’s operations

As a modern slavery research organisation, we have an important role to play in including survivor voice and have developed our approach as a result of continuous learning, both from the people with lived experience who have worked with us, and from others’ work in this area.

Initially, the Centre worked with consultants with lived experience of modern slavery in the development of funding calls and assessment of applications for funding research projects.

"Being non-tokenistic, being trauma-informed and preventing harm are three principles underpinning our work of engaging people with lived experience of modern slavery."

We then recruited a Lived Experience Engagement Manager and Lived Experience Engagement Coordinator to lead on the Centre’s survivor engagement work. This includes the creation of a Lived Experience Advisory Panel, developed to ensure that lived experience perspectives are embedded in the activities of the Centre. The Panel works on a fortnightly basis to provide advice on the day-to-day work of the Centre.

We have also created a working group of nine diverse civil society organisations to identify, discuss and consolidate good practice in the inclusion of survivors.

We have also started work to include lived experience expertise in our public communications. For example, we published several blogs by lived experience experts on issues such as the potential impact of the Illegal Migration Act or the Rwanda policy, including in the Guardian and in the Independent.

Survivor inclusion in research

We strive to make sure that people with lived experience of modern slavery are at the centre of research the Modern Slavery PEC funds, as well as being those who actively participate as researchers and in other decision-making positions.

We require lived experience involvement where appropriate and have funded many research projects which include survivors in different ways, including as peer researchers, as advisory board members and leading engagement with policymakers.

Survivors have also informed the design of research, providing feedback on methodological tools such as survey questions and interview guides. One project created a curriculum to train and support survivors to become peer researchers.

The Centre has also produced a number of tools to support best practice, including a bespoke Safeguarding Policy, a set of meeting rules creating safe spaces for participants, and application guidance materials tailored for survivors.