An active community to contrast and prevent peer and gender violence represents the final event of the European project "YOUTH FOR LOVE 2", promoted by ActionAid Italy and Afol Metropolitana. The event, which is held on Tuesday 4 April 2023 from 10 am to 1 pm, will present the results of the project and some important reflections that emerged during the activities, around the topics of the different forms of violence at school and outside the school, between students involved and their proposals to counter it. Peer and gender-based violence between teenagers has particularly complex and multifaceted characteristics. It includes different manifestations of physical, sexual and/or psychological violence, such as verbal abuse, bullying, sexual abuse and harassment, coercion and assault, rape. In recent years, and in particular as a result of the pandemic, it become partially even more "invisible", taking place online, with characteristics that make the process of recognition, management and prevention more complex. The different forms of violence often overlap and reinforce each other, and gender is a key factor underlying many forms of violence and discrimination. YFL2 is part of a four-year Italian and European programme, implemented in Italy by ActionAid and Afol Metropolitana. At the European level it has been developed and implemented by ActionAid Hellas (Greece), UC Limburg (Belgium), and Fundatia Centrul Partenariat Pentru Egalitate (Romania). It is co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Program of the European Union. The general objective of the project is to prevent, detect and address peer violence and gender-based violence (14-18 years) in 5 communities from 4 European countries (Italy, Belgium, Greece and Romania). Youth 4 Love 2 has promoted the adoption of a global and multilateral approach involving actors who generally do not cooperate with each other such as young people, parents, professionals in the education sector (school and community), associations, representatives of private services (private and tertiary sector), public services and authorities (public sector) at local and national level. download the program
A toolkit for students and school staff and educators to design and develop youth-led campaign and advocacy at local level This toolkit aims at providing students and young people in general with concrete tools to understand and analyse the needs and resources of their local communities and based on that, develop youth-led advocacy and campaigning initiatives in their local communities. It also offers concrete tools and tactics that can be used to advocate for youth-led alternatives and campaigns for the prevention and combating of peer-to-peer violence in their local communities. In this first phase of the community-based intervention the aim is to deepen the understanding and knowledge of the needs and resources of one’s local community through different tactics, from action-research practices to conducting surveys and questionnaires with stakeholders from the local community. One of the many interesting activities it includes is called "Photovoice". Photovoice is a process through which people can identify, represent and engage the community through photography. It is a very flexible tool, generally aiming at 3 different objectives: allow people to document and reflect about the needs and resources of their community; promote a critical dialogue and knowledge with respect to issues important for a community though collective analysis and discussion; target decision makers and institutions. With the use of photography, people can identify with, represent and get involved with their community. Boys and girls, divided into one or more groups of 10, will collectively decide what aspect or problem of their community they want to document and represent. Later, they will define the use they will make of the produced materials and which institutional target the action will be addressed to. In this way, young people can bring out their views on the community through photography and reflect on its strengths and weaknesses. After all, youth both inside and outside the school context can be powerful agents of change and play a key role in making their communities more inclusive, safe and youth-friendly.
Join the Flemish Week against Bullying too! In Belgium, the Flemish Week against Bullying is organised every year to connect schools, clubs and associations to tackle the issue of bullying. The aim is to make bullying negotiable and thus prevent bullying as much as possible because the consequences of bullying are usually very serious. Together, we make it clear that bullying is unacceptable. All information on initiatives can be found here: https://kieskleurtegenpesten.be/ https://www.ketnet.be/themas/stip-it-2023
47 children and 9 teachers from Greece, Italy, Romania and Belgium gathered together at the European Feminist School of the Youth4Love2 program in Sofiko Corinthia, from July 2 to 7, to discuss school violence, stereotypes, personal boundaries and more! The children, who had already studied the phenomenon of violence in their schools as part of the program's educational activities, had the opportunity for five days, to get to know each other in person, to participate in educational workshops, have fun and lay the foundation to become agents of change for a violence-free school. So with plenty of joy and energy and after breaking the ice with each other, they started building the groups, with the first workshop dealing with sexual harassment, abuse and creating safe boundaries. This was something of particular interest to the children, who participated enthusiastically and sparked an exchange of views and thoughts. Then, after familiarizing themselves with mapping tools and techniques, they discussed how they feel about issues related to gender identities, stereotypes and gender-based violence. Also, they approached the subject of identity through different aspects, in order to understand how social identities are formed and what influences them either positively or negatively. On the fourth day, the children participated in workshops on issues of communication, campaigns and advocacy, while on the last day they evaluated all the activities. In total, the children participated in 13 educational workshops, aimed at cultivating teamwork and cooperation, familiarizing themselves with the different aspects and types of school violence, as well as acquiring new skills in terms of leadership, communication and advovacy. The students really understood the power they have to shape and influence their environment by making different choices, while they gained the knowledge and tools to become agents of change for a fairer and more inclusive school!
Media use by children and teenagers has increased substantially in these years, in part because of the recent increase in mobile phone use by children and teenagers. About three-quarters of teenagers now own smartphones, and more than half say they are online “often” and “addicted” to their phones. The impact of the media on society and individuals with violent themes and descriptions is increasingly being noticed. A larger amount of research evidence shows that those violence scene in media such as television, films, music, and video games poses a serious threat to the mental health of youth. This article will be addressed on effects of violent videos on young people, namely, inducing aggressive behavior, reducing prosocial behavior and inducing violent desensitization. The findings suggest that experts have reached a consensus on the reality of the impact of violent media on children. Experimental studies have conclusively shown that in the short term, exposure of children and adults to media violence will immediately increases the possibility of having aggressive behavior, decreases prosocial behavior and triggers violent desensitization. Longitudinal experimental studies also shows convincingly evidence and the result shows that children’s exposure to electronic media violence will lead to a long-term increase in their risk of exhibiting aggressive and violent behavior. Download the article: https://www.atlantis-press.com/article/125968642.pdf
"I learned how to recognize violence, as there is more than just the obvious form" a student told us during ActionAid’s educational workshops about violence as part of the project Youth4Love2. From January to April, 20 workshops were held in 2 schools in Athens, with the participation of 106 adolescents. The themes on which the children worked were human rights and discrimination, forms of violence, school violence, stereotypes, power and abuse, cyber bullying and protection, gender identities and network creation against school violence. "Personally, it is very uncomfortable for me to go to the family if I am a victim of violence," said another child during the workshops, pointing out that children often feel they have nowhere to turn to in such incidents. The workshops were experiential, allowing children to really work on themes, through role-playing games, group work, simulations, creative expression work, and brainstorming. From the very first meetings, they studied the phenomenon of violence and its forms, while discussing how they feel about it and what can cause it. In an experiential way they recognized the points that unite a group and detected the role that each and everyone plays in it. After all, are there specific roles in a team? Is there anyone who would call troublemaker or, in the end, are there other factors that contribute to a riot? What is the role that each and every individual plays in the balance of the team? Stereotypes were another chapter that they studied in detail, as they seemed to accompany us from our childhood. Speaking of fairy-tale heroines such as Snow White, Rapunzel and Cinderella who were all sweet, beautiful and obedient women, who after difficulties, were rewarded with a handsome and strong prince, the children went into the process of thinking: "Is there a man who is not afraid? " with a student answering "the prince!". Similarly, during a role play, they hypothetically talked about a person working as a bartender with most children imagining him as a man, heterosexual, handsome, tall, fit, with tattoos, only to discover shortly afterwards that the bartender was a trans man. A boy from the group was impressed and remarked that "in the end, no matter how much we criticize the stereotypes, we keep them unconscious". In closing, a child told us "As a department we could not communicate and after the program I realized that we started to get closer, to communicate better." Education on such topics is very important in schools, first of all for children to better understand themselves and others and then to be able to recognize what violence means and what are the stereotypes that influence our behaviors and perceptions. By working in groups with children, teachers and parents, we can tackle school violence and bring about change.
How are we going to prevent, detect and address peer violence among adolescents? The project Youty4Love 2 aims to do exactly that, with the cooperation of Italy, Belgium, Greece and Romania and by focusing on five local communities. The goal is to promote the adoption of positive behaviors on preventing and addressing peer violence among youth, families, educational professionals and community members. Starting with the students and in order to learn more about their experience on youth violence in schools, ActionAid Hellas made 4 focus groups in Greece with the participation of 40 teen-participants. What is impressive is that the majority of the teenagers, reported physical violence and especially among boys, ranging from a push to a kick or even a knife assault. Something also important to note down is that none of the students who participated, seem to understand the severity of the incidents they described. So what exactly happen in schools regarding physical and verbal violence? “One day at school a group of boys started beating one boy, with no reason”, “two students right outside our school had a disagreement and after that they started beating each other”, “during a school excursion, where I was not present, I heard that a schoolmate took out a knife at two other persons of the school…because they had a fight at the past, the one boy got angry and started beating my friend hard, because of his anger”. Is physical violence and verbal abuse connected? It seemed quite difficult for the children to understand and report psychological violence and verbal abuse and unfortunately the majority of them either think of verbal abuse as a common practice or they connect it to the physical abuse: “…I saw a group of boys who pushed another boy and were making fun of his weight…they thought that something like that would make them macho”, “he was alone in a corner and in front of him there was a group of schoolmates who were making fun, because of what he was, about his identity. I never understood why. He was just different.” The last experience has a common understanding with the perception of the racist abuse as another child shared: “I saw a group of children isolated in a corner of the courtyard a boy who had recently come to our school. This child had come from another country and the children who made up this group of friends insulted him, with very ugly characterizations and they started beating him. This story went on for about 6 weeks and then that particular child decided to leave." Regarding the role of gender towards violence, the children, follow stereotypical beliefs, as they seem to believe that boys mainly use physical power and girls fight through words. But what does violence mean to the children who participated? Some of the words or phrases they shared are the following: “Bullying, different, something that does not pair with everybody, tensions, advantageous position based on unknown criteria, inequality, disturbance of normality, bad
The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence. According to General Assembly resolution A/RES/61/271 of 15 June 2007, which established the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness". The resolution reaffirms "the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence" and the desire "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence". Introducing the resolution in the General Assembly on behalf of 140 co-sponsors, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. Anand Sharma, said that the wide and diverse sponsorship of the resolution was a reflection of the universal respect for Mahatma Gandhi and of the enduring relevance of his philosophy. Quoting the late leader’s own words, he said: "Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man". more info: https://www.un.org/en/observances/non-violence-day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LvKL3__zXk&ab_channel=TheGenevaCentreforHumanRightsAdvancement Video by The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement - https://gchragd.org/
Youth for Love 2 has taken off! After a virtual kick-off meeting in May, the partners were able to meet physically in Bucharest, Romania. The meeting allowed for in-depth discussion of the project’s goals and objectives, and the development of future activities. We were also very happy to welcome some students online, who gave us their insights and feedback for the new version of the Youth for Love webgame, to be launched in February 2022. Each partner will now prepare for the first activities in their local communities. First on the agenda: focus group conversations with teachers, students and parents on their perception and knowledge of peer violence. These conversations will help the consortium to develop tools and workshops tailored to the needs of each target group. The workshops will be carried out in the first semester of 2022.
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