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.
We do not yet have comparable EU-wide data but some countries have already provided initial figures showing a spike in domestic violence during lockdown. For example, France saw a 32 % jump in domestic violence reports in just over a week. Lithuania observed 20 % more domestic violence reports over a three-week lockdown period than over the same period in 2019. Read the full article here (EUROPEAN INSTITUTE FOR GENDER EQUALITY)
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