To prevent, detect and address peer violence among adolescents The findings from Youth for Love 1 show that teenagers experience violence in their day-to-day life both at school as well as in the places where they meet outside. Many students don’t perceive their school as safe, especially hallways/schoolyards, toilets and classrooms. Other unsafe places for them are on the way to and from school (43%), in the school classrooms (32%) and in the school toilets (34%) and according to 80% of the students interviewed youth engage in violence mainly in groups. Within the community there are several actors including youth associations, sport organizations, private/public service providers, authorities and other stakeholders that engage in preventing and addressing peer violence. However, less than half of the students interviewed are aware either of people or services whom they can report episodes of violence outside the school (Italy 42,7%, Romania 38%, Belgium 16%, Greece 41%). The percentages of teachers aware of external people and services is even lower: in Italy 13,7%, in Romania 17%, and Greece 20,6%. Peer violence is a pervasive and widespread phenomenon that can have consequences at individual, family and community levels. Moreover, the prevention of youth peer violence is a critical aspect of meeting a wide range of youth, social, family, health and employment policy objectives. Based on this evidence the “Youth 4 Love 2” project aims to prevent, detect and address peer violence among adolescents (14-18 years) in 5 local communities in 4 European countries (Italy, Belgium, Greece, Romania), by promoting the adoption of positive behaviours for preventing and addressing peer violence among youth, families, educational professionals and community members at large who will be involved in community-based initiatives developed and led by youth to prevent and address peer violence. Whereas Youth for Love 1 had a more specific focus on School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV), in this second edition of the project partners have chosen to have a wider focus on peer violence by addressing violence and discrimination in their interdependencies through a strong community engagement approach for building collective power against different forms of discrimination and power inequality with an intersectional lens. Adopting the Whole School Approach, starting from the centrality of students' well-being, it will therefore work at multiple levels promoting the role and collaboration of different stakeholders including young people, parents, education professionals, civil society organisations, authorities and members of the broader community. This approach acknowledges that schools are important to reduce and prevent peer violence because they can involve many young people at one time. Nonetheless, school-based interventions need to be integrated by broader violence-prevention initiatives conducted at the community level to address the risks factors that stem from outside the school environment. At European level, the project aims at: Developing and testing an integrated educational programme for the prevention and management of peer violence in 5 local communities across Europe. Informing and training 190 school professionals to strengthen their competences in preventing and managing peer violence and become the school’s focal point on peer violence. Engaging 50 parents or tutors in a specific training programme to strengthen their role in the prevention and management of peer violence at school and community level
Thanks to the Youth For Love project, young people, teachers, institutions and organizations from four European countries have drawn up some recommendations against stereotypes and gender violence Preventing gender-based violence during adolescence is still an open challenge. Despite the indications of the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, UNESCO – and despite the numerous legislative initiatives undertaken in various European Union countries to combat violence and abuse – specific tools and policies for young people continue to be lacking. With this awareness, the European project Youth For Love started two years ago to develop, implement and evaluate an integrated educational program in high schools in four European countries (Italy, Greece, Belgium and Romania). The work promoted at the European level has led almost 600 students, 160 teachers and 15 associations to develop policy recommendations addressed to schools, local authorities, and the Ministry of Education. Specific procedures to prevent and tackle gender-based violence in the school regulations, reference teachers and spaces for discussion on the topic, affective and sexual education courses, active involvement of students in the co-definition of policies and activities are just some of the priority actions for the school environment. Other proposals involve the entire educational community at the territorial level: awareness campaigns, adequate and regular funds for educational projects, reference schools for the topic, as required by the National Guidelines for the Respect Education program.
The 3rd transnational meeting for Youth For Love was held in Hasselt (Belgium) on February 6 and 7, 2020. On February 5, UCLL planned some extra activities related to the project. The main aim of the meeting was to summarise activities carried out by the consortium so far and to plan the project's next steps and activities. On Wednesday, February 5, we all gathered at the Family Justice Centre in Hasselt. The Family Justice Center (FJC) is the final piece of the chain approach to domestic violence in Limburg (province of Belgium). From now on, a team of professionals, including therapists, nurses, prosecutors, police, and other social service providers, are all under one roof. Being so, they can tackle domestic violence in an integrated and joint manner. Dries Wyckmans (FJC) showed us a presentation about how the FJC works. How domestic violence occurs, how they support the victim and their family and how they want to do more in the future to prevent domestic violence. Afterwards, all the partners could ask some questions, and we held a group discussion about some topics related to the project Youth For Love. In the evening, we came together in Het Regenbooghuis ("The Rainbowhouse") in Hasselt. The Rainbowhouse is a contact point for sexual and gender diversity and the warm home of the Limburg rainbow community. They support the affiliated rainbow associations, raise awareness, inform and form volunteers, the associations and the Limburg community. The Rainbowhouse is also the physical location where all associations can go for their activities. Where LGBT people, transgender people and sympathisers can meet each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Leopold and Margot from the Rainbowhouse explained to us what they do as staff members. As a group, we had a nice discussion and comparison of themes such as same-sex marriage, discrimination, rights in the different European countries. Since the rainbow house is also active in secondary schools with their educational packages, they were invited as stakeholders at the project meeting. The rainbow house was very enthusiastic about the Youth For Love project, which has given us a solid ambassador. On Thursday, February 6, we started our project meeting at Vrijzinnig Punt in Hasselt. High on the agenda was the discussion of the project's progress and financial aspects, the diagnosis and impact of the evaluation and the students and teachers support program. As a part of those support programs, we had the chance to do workshops with both teachers and students in a local school, Het Inspiro College in Houthalen. On Friday, February 7, we continued our project meeting. We discussed the Peer to peer program and the communication and dissemination plans and brainstormed with our stakeholder network to determine a strategy and receive recommendations. Therefore, we invited some stakeholders as Leopold and Margot from the Rainbowhouse and Kimberley and Emma, both staff members of the department for equal opportunities from the City of Hasselt. It was a very inspiring project meeting that gave us a clear view of the current