Children’s Human Rights to ‘Participation’ and ‘Protection’: Rethinking the Relationship Using Barnahus as a Case Example

The relationship between children’s human rights to protection and to what is commonly referred to as ‘participation’ has received significant attention, with many scholars critiquing the purported tension between the two approaches and demonstrating how child participation should be a core feature of child protection. Less attention has been paid to the converse and, we argue, essential precursor of participatory protection practice – the significance of the child’s right to be protected from harm as a means to ensuring successful child participation. Drawing on the example of the multidisciplinary Barnahus model, this article explores the multifaceted relationship between participation and protection, suggesting that there needs to be greater acknowledgement of the role of collective child participation in delivering the conditions where individual children who have witnessed or experienced violence feel and are safe to express themselves.