Daphne Toolkit

CHILDREN: FROM VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE TO ACTORS OF NON-VIOLENCE

Project Reference Number: 
JUST/2012/DAP/AG/3442

CHILDREN: FROM VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE TO ACTORS OF NON-VIOLENCE

 

Aim

The project aimed to develop a system of socio-cultural intervention for a recovery path (from school to the labour market) and integration for young people who have been the victims of violence in order to avoid those victims becoming perpetrators of violence in the future.

 

Project activities

The following activities were undertaken within the project:

  • research activities;
  • trainings;
  • focus groups;
  • guidelines.

The target group was young offenders, non-disadvantaged youth and youths at risk.

The pilot project was implemented in Sicily in the first year; it addressed voluntary work/introduction to work for the target youth, training, and assessment of the participating youths' experience.

During the second year, the same activities were organized in the Czech Republic and Spain.

Six training events were organised, as well as an focus groupsfor experts in juvenile justice. 

If these challenges, above all, involve the Juvenile Justice Systems, it is just as true that the levels of change and transformation that the three countries will have to face are different. Indeed, under many aspects the systems in Italy and Spain have similar conditions, given that both countries have attempted over the last two or three decades to transpose European and international theoretical approaches, and have introduced operative tools consistent with such approaches. The end result of this process of change has entailed the gradual loss of the centrality of the detention response to child deviance, in favour of other intervention methods whose primary aim is to guarantee and support the development of training and educational processes for young people, wherever possible within the context to which they belong (family, school, peer groups, social network etc.).

Moreover, the migrant flows to both European countries in the last thirty years, have forced the Juvenile Justice services, as well as the network of social-healthcare services as a whole, to take into account a further difficulty, that of the changes in and differentiation of users, and thus to re-examine the operative interventions and methods from a multi-ethnic perspective, more calibrated to the specificities introduced by the new segment of users.

In the case of the Czech Republic, on the other hand, the re-examination and remodelling process of the Juvenile Justice System is still in what may be defined as a “budding” phase. In the last 20 years the country has experienced a radical social and cultural transformation, marked by the passage from a post-communist regime to a market economy, including the transformation of the social systems, institutions and, more generally, all the other services, including the Juvenile Justice service. This is however a macro-process of transformation which is still underway, above all with respect to the operative interpretation of the new European and international approaches that the different sectors of the country are acquiring.

A further aspect of complexity, which is by no means negligible, is that this transformation is occurring in a social-economic framework characterised by a phase of economic development which is certainly important, but that still records a significant distance between the levels of consumption of many European countries and the economic capacities of the Czech people.

Finally, contrary to Italy and Spain, this process is characterised by less ethnic differentiation, due to the much more recent and lower migration flows, with respect to those experienced by Italy and Spain.

The challenges faced by the Juvenile Justice System of the Czech Republic, more so than those of Italy and Spain, which appear to be more ahead in this process, are the ability and rapidity with which the legal system and those of the services, will be able to accept cultural transformations that dismantle the residual characteristics of a post-Soviet logic, in favour of a European Justice model and approach to children who commit crimes.

 

Results

The project has developed and tested a system of integrated intervention, supported by a network public / private and profit / non-profit, to support young people from degraded socio-cultural or criminals or mafia backgrounds, to "break away culturally ", in a gradual way, from their background, with the aim to prevent their change from the victim of a violent culture to agents of violence.

Through a process of recovery and integration, which involved the interception of young people at risk, psychological support essential to undertake an alternative route and the prospect of living within the law, through the knowledge of the instruments of integration into the labor market, the opportunity has been given to young people to become involved actors of a culture nonviolent despite their original background.

There has been a research activity to get a clear idea of the socio-cultural context  whose data were presented at the international seminar in Prague. A focus group, also in Prague, among experts of juvenile criminal law from the three partner countries (Italy, Czech Republic, Spain) has allowed to analyse the regulations in force in the three countries. During the first year, the pilot project was tested in Italy, and several steps were developed: training of operators of the partner organisations for helping the young victims of violence (even mafia) in detachment from socio-cultural context of origin; training was given by experts to young people involved to prepare them for voluntary activities or work; volunteer camps were implemented.

The same activities were reproduced in the other two countries (Spain and Czech Republic) to experience the pilot project developed in Italy.

The project was an action made possible by the creation of a network public / private and profit / nonprofit. The structuring of this action has allowed young beneficiaries of the activities to understand that an alternative perspective of life, different from that interiorised in the family to which they belong  and that would lead them to be future agents of violence, is possible.

The young people involved have developed more confidence in themselves and in the system of private associations and public bodies that have supported them in this process of removal from the culture of violence from which they came. Even operators of partner associations have understood the importance of networking between public entity and private social associations to manage young at risk, even those who are victims of violence.

 

Dissemination

- project website

- event organisation (involving the public) and advertising at a national level.  The Guidelines have been sent to university research departments, offices of the ministries of justice in the three project member states

- video