Daphne Toolkit

Prevention Of Violence through Education to Legality (POVEL)

Project Reference Number: 
2010-1/349

Prevention Of Violence through Education to Legality (POVEL)

Context and focus

Violence against young people is an increasing phenomenon in Europe and worldwide. The World Health Organization, through its Global Campaign for Violence Prevention,[1] highlights that:

  • Nearly one in four adults has been physically abused as a child;

  • Every day, worldwide, 227 children and youths (aged 0–19 years) die as a result of interpersonal violence and, for each death, many more are hospitalised with injuries;

  • Maltreatment can cause changes in the brain that increase the risk of behavioural, physical and mental health problems in adulthood;

  • Being a victim of child maltreatment can increase the risk that a person will become a victim and/or perpetrator of other forms of violence in adolescence and adulthood.

A large proportion of violence against teenagers is perpetrated at school. Research conducted in Spain in 2005[2] highlighted that out of every 100 students (aged between 12 and 16 years):

  • 75% have been witness to at least one act of violence at school;

  • 15 % have been victims of violence at school in general (80% of them have suffered emotional abuse, almost 40% of them persistently);

  • 3% have been victims of bullying (and 90% of victims of bullying have suffered emotional, and seven physical abuse);

  • 8% have been the aggressor.

Furthermore, bullying and cyber violence are on the increase, driven by an increasing use of social media and by drug and alcohol abuse among adolescent people.

The POVEL project aimed to investigate and increase understanding of violence against young people, raise awareness of educational tools and strengthen teenagers’ ability to stop violence.

Project activities

The project involved:

  • A survey of teenagers’ behaviour and attitudes towards violence

The survey targeted 14–20 years old and was aimed at understanding their behaviour with regard to drugs, alcohol and use of media, as well as their perceptions of violence. The survey was conducted via a website through which participants could anonymously submit their answers. The survey contained 69 multiple-choice and two open questions and was translated into Italian, French and Spanish.

  • Learning kits for teenagers and trainers to help address peer violence

On the basis of the survey results, the team produced a collection of digital learning materials designed to help trainers and teenagers understand how they can address peer violence. Four types of learning kits were produced which focused on:

  • Prevention of violence connected to drug abuse;

  • Prevention of violence connected to alcohol consumption;

  • Prevention of peer violence and bullying;

  • Prevention of media violence.

The kits made use of interactive, innovative and attractive education methodologies. For example, one of the kits (alcohol related violence) is a website[3] that presents information on the risks caused to health by alcohol via a video clip, interactive quizzes, information sections and resources for downloading. Each kit has also been tested in at least two different countries. The kits were tested through group activities aimed at enhancing personal and group awareness on the issues of bullying – particularly bullying on social media, violence in general and use of drugs and alcohol.

  • Four awareness-raising workshops

To raise awareness of the tools developed, four workshops were held in Italy, Spain, France and Belgium. The workshops involved a total of 224 people from local and regional institutions, secondary schools and vocational training centres and focused on the exchange of experiences aimed at promoting the use of these tools. The project ended with an international conference held in Ravenna, Italy attended by 79 professionals (public officers, teachers, trainers, social workers) and three classes of students (around 50 young people).

  • User-friendly, targeted communication tools (website, blogs, social network accounts, newsletters)

The project team developed communication tools (website, blog and newsletter service) to support the dissemination of the survey and learning kits. These tools also contributed to the communication of information about the project, intermediate results, products and activities.

Project results

The project achieved positive results and even exceeded expected targets:

  • 940 young people participated in the data collection exercises. The number of questionnaires completed was 696 (the target was 150), while the group activities involved 240 people (twice the expected target);

  • A total of 224 people attended the workshops (120 expected);

  • More than 400 adolescents were involved in the testing of the learning kits (120 expected);

  • Thirteen newsletters were distributed to almost 400 contacts from 21 different countries.

Furthermore, students gave the following feedback after the testing phase:

  • 87% students stated they had learned some or many new things;

  • Two thirds said they had partially or completely changed their views on the issues discussed;

  • The vast majority showed interest in the proposed path;

  • Almost half (49%) said that they had spoken spontaneously with friends about the topics covered by the project;

  • 65% reported that as a result of the training they felt able to support or give advice to a peer in a situation related to the issues covered.

Innovation and follow-up activities

The most innovative aspect of this project was the practical and creative approach it took to preventing violence among adolescents and how the kits tackled four different types of triggers of violence.

The project partners worked in cooperation with local authorities (provinces, counties, regions, police, social services, etc.) in order to integrate the products developed into standard compulsory education programmes as part of the national and regional offer of education and training.

 

[2] "Peer violence in Schools", Spain (2005) - Centro Reina Sofía para el estudio de la violencia